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Are Extreme Weather-Related Disruptions Our New Normal?

We asked on social media and now we want to hear from you here.

A wind and rain storm that blew through the area Wednesday night caused headaches for Long Islanders already weary from super storm Sandy, many areas still in the middle of recovery.

On Thursday morning, the Long Island Power Authority reported over 25,000 customers were without power. And a broken utility pole caused serious delays on the Long Island Railroad Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson branches.

We asked on Facebook if weather-related disruptions to services and electrical power on a major scale are now the new normal. Or should we start better preparing ourselves and our infrastructure for extreme weather?

Candace Gonzalez-Donin thought that the same types of interruptions didn't happening years ago.

“…don't ever remember schools losing power like this when we were kids,” she wrote.

But Charlie Masone recalled it differently.

“I always remembering losing power as a kid, as long as we have trees in power distribution lines this will happen,” he wrote and added that LILCO and LIPA should done something about it decades ago. “They should have gotten better at this by now.”

Colin Ifill was resigned.

“New normal,” he said.

John Byrnes said that it’s also the nature of where we live.

“We live on a glorified barrier island in the North East, we're supposed to be prepared for bad weather situations. ” he wrote. “Forget the infrastructure, teach people to drive when it's not sunny and 70.”

According to Liza Pfeffer it’s a situation that will not get better unless we resolve to do something about it.

“I think we are going to have to accept the power outages and school closings until they improve on infrastructure,” she said. “There's not a whole lot else you can do about it. Improving infrastructure needs to be a priority, however! If there's one thing you can't count on is the weather. I don't foresee it getting any better!”

John Feinberg agreed.

“Until a complete or large overhaul of infrastructure, it will keep happening,” Feinberg said.

When we asked about the cost, people said that the change really has to come in the agencies that control our services like LIPA and the LIRR before we spend the money.

“Cost is definitely a factor. Overhauling and reconstructing the public service entities is probably where it needs to begin first,” Pfeffer said. “Only then can they strengthen the actual infrastructure without cleaning out our bank accounts!!!”

Masone said that cost is a factor as well.

“…LIPA just spent billions to patch up this antique system after Sandy,” he said. “(National Grid) has been digging up streets for decades to put down gas mains, could have moved more utilities under the street while they were at it, I assume for less money than this patch job.”

Continue the conversation. Do we have to accept that extreme weather will cause major disruptions to service or do we need to invest in improvements? Talk about it in our comments below.

Jack Wolf February 04, 2013 at 02:30 PM
About 10 years ago, I began to notice that most climate change reports and scientific papers use less than realistic emission scenarios in their calculations. Since these emissions are long lived, this has led to a deepening concern about the climate situation and its impacts, in my lifetime, and in your lifetime. This important talk by Dr. Anderson, link below, at the 2012 Cabot Lecture clearly points the finger at scientists for not accurately reporting how bad the climate situation is. He also explains why we cannot meet the 2 degree C (3.8 F) target set by the world’s government and its impacts on us today. His talk is timely in light of the recent report from the World Bank that found: "Even with the current mitigation pledges fully implemented, there is roughly a 20% likelihood of exceeding 4°C by 2100. If they are not met, warming of 4°C could occur as early as the 2060s." Globally, we are nowhere close to meeting our mitigation pledges and long lived CO2 emissions continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at an accelerating rate. It’s like civilization has collectively said: Screw it. Dr. Anderson is very animated and I think you will find it enlightening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RInrvSjW90U

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