When the Governor of Massachusetts recommended that all college classes be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, he also canceled my presentation at my alma mater.
I had been invited to Mount Holyoke College to tell the student body about my leadership of Levees.org which I founded in New Orleans after Katrina. Spoiler alert, the hurricane’s name and mine being the same are a coincidence.
I did manage to catch one of the last planes out of ghostly quiet Bradley Airport in Connecticut that morning and began this post since I was lucky enough to get a plane with Gogo internet.
There are things I have observed in hurricane preparation that give me encouragement. But there were also some things which filled me with dismay.
A disturbing site was folks in New York City using sandbags to protect valuable property and infrastructure in one of the most densely populated areas in the nation. Flood protection for the great city of New York ought to be built to a 10,000 year standard, not the mandated one-size-fits-all 100 year protection.
But I was encouraged that Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of more than 370,000 people in low lying communities in New York. This apparently was called due to abnormally high storm surge predictions.
I am Sandy Rosenthal and I watched the people of my city – the jewel that is New Orleans – die during a hurricane in 2005.
Fifty five percent of our nation’s population lives in counties protected by levees. It seems that our nations’ leaders may be realizing this.