Nature knows no morality or ethics, and acts according to its own brutal laws. Yesterday proved no exception, as a storm made up predominantly of the diminished yet lethal power of Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the United States, leaving a wake of destruction, including 131 total deaths (in the Caribbean 67, in the United States 62, in Canada 2); the figures will likely climb as more accurate numbers are reported. Yesterday's surge on the east cost of the U.S resulted in flooding, fires, business and school closures and millions without power. A single act of nature can easily and without any mercy disrupt the lives of millions of individuals.
The New York Times writes:
The mammoth and merciless storm made landfall near Atlantic City around 8 p.m., with maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said. That was shortly after the center had reclassified the storm as a post-tropical cyclone, a scientific renaming that had no bearing on the powerful winds, driving rains and life-threatening storm surge expected to accompany its push onto land.
The storm had unexpectedly picked up speed as it roared over the Atlantic Ocean on a slate-gray day and went on to paralyze life for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states, with extensive evacuations that turned shorefront neighborhoods into ghost towns. Even the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty left to ride out the storm at his mother’s house in New Jersey; he said the statue itself was “high and dry,” but his house in the shadow of the torch was not.
The wind-driven rain lashed sea walls and protective barriers in places like Atlantic City, where the Boardwalk was damaged as water forced its way inland. Foam was spitting, and the sand gave in to the waves along the beach at Sandy Hook, N.J., at the entrance to New York Harbor. Water was thigh-high on the streets in Sea Bright, N.J., a three-mile sand-sliver of a town where the ocean joined the Shrewsbury River. “It’s the worst I’ve seen,” said David Arnold, watching the storm from his longtime home in Long Branch, N.J. “The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said late Monday night that at least five deaths in the state were attributable to the storm. At least three of those involved falling trees. About 7 p.m., a tree fell on a house in Queens, killing a 30-year-old man, the city police said. About the same time, two boys, ages 11 and 13, were killed in North Salem in Westchester County, when a tree fell on the house they were in, according to the State Police.The effects of "Sandy" will be felt for a few days to a week, and then for most persons, it will be a forgotten story, as the clean-up will begin, and life will move forward. So is the way it ought to be. And yet for those who were killed by its "acts of nature" (falling tree limbs, drownings, auto accidents, etc), families of the victims will not easily forget this storm's merciless acts.
We now have computer technology to predict more about a storm's track and its devastating effects—and advanced technology likely saved many lives—but it can't stop nature's devastating effects. Such might explain why in the past, when Man was far more primitive, it would try to appease Nature with sacrifices, often human ones. It never worked; Nature is unpredictable as it is capricious. This reminds me of Shakespeare's King Lear and the soliloquy of Edmund, King Lear, in Act 1, scene ii:
Thou, nature, art my goddess. To thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why “bastard”? Wherefore “base”?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true
As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us
With “base,” with “baseness,” “bastardy,” “base,” “base”—
Who in the lusty stealth of nature take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth within a dull, stale, tirèd bed
Go to th' creating a whole tribe of fops
Got ’tween a sleep and wake? Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.
Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate.—Fine word, “legitimate”!—
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top th' legitimate. I grow, I prosper.
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
You can read the rest of the article at [NYT]
The story was updated on Oct. 31st and again on Nov. 1st to correct the number of persons killed as a result of "Sandy."