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Thursday, June 29

Oddly Enough, I DO Feel Safer

As I am sure you have heard, the weather in my little portion of the world has been a bit dangerous lately. My general area has received between 8 and 12 inches of rain over a period of 4 days. Toss us some flotation devices 'cuz they are calling for more.....

We have bridges underwater, roads eaten away, houses (whole and in pieces) floating down rivers, rock slides, land slides, more flooding than I can recount and loss of power and other vital services. And you know what? We're doing okay.

In Pennsylvania (at least as of Wed night) there has been one fatallity, an older man in his car. That's it. We have had to evacuate over 200,000 (two hundred thousand) people from Wilkes-Barre, and you know what? Aside from the aggrevation of traffic, everything went smoothly with no major issues or interventions.

You want to know what else? Its pissing off the MSM and a few of the powers that be. Wolf Blitzer 'interviewed' the Mayor and asked him "Why are you evacuating the town, don't you have faith in the Army Engineer Corps?"

Ya gotta luv the Mayor. His response was simple, quick and unarguable. "Listen, we have what could easily turn into the Northern version of Katrina, no one HERE wants that. My decisions are made on the information I have available and with the safety of our citizens being my topmost priority. I have given the order for mandatory evacuation and if faced with the same scenario I will do the same thing again."

My little town was just as forceful with their decisions. Most of Jim Thorpe is a series of large hills and small mountains with a surprisine amount of creeks, lakes and, of course, the Lehigh river running through it. We have had a good amount of flooding and debris being carried down the mountains and into the streets. Part of Route 209 was under water from Monday until this morning. We have nothing but volunteer services here, volunteers who were kept busy pumping out homes and businesses, rescuing stranded motorist and doing their best to prevent any further damage. The town and the mayor were behind them 100%, people were asked to evacuate, they evacuated; they either went to a neighbouring firehall or other families took them in. We were asked to stay indoors and use our cell phones to call numbers to report emergencies, these numbers were broadcasted constantly over the radio stations. Police scanners also announced the number once every 20-30 minutes as they knew many towns people have and listen to scanners.

Our mayor was a real hoot, he made it very clear that we didn't need "rubber neckers" coming up to look at the damage. If you were caught there once with a car your info was taken down and you were given a warning, do it again and your car was impounded and you were delivered to a shelter for the duration. I have no idea what, if anything happend to anyone who walked downtown.

Now admittedly, some people may feel this is a bit draconian, but to be honest it didn't feel that way. It was a community working together to take care of its own, we knew who was in charge, the chain of command was not only clear but PRESENT. Everyone knew what they were expected to do and they did it, wether that meant operating heavy machinery, feeding evacuees and first responders, or just staying inside and out of the way.

This was the complete opposite of what happened in New Orleans, LA.

Both had prior knowledge that levvees (in our case, multitudes of earthen dams) could be breached. Both areas have many large and small bodies of water, both had the same technology, and aside from climate both situations were very similar. The biggest difference is the size of the population and the area effected (NOLA bigger population in a smaller area, NorthEast bigger TOTAL population but spread out).

So, what do you think? Apparently we, the people, have learned from Katrina, even it the Federal Govnmt and MSM have not. We, the people, have shown that we can work together to help one another out, that we can be counted on to use common sense and that we can pull off a wide-spread operation over a period of days under harsh conditions. What has the government learned?