Weather or Not, Count Your Blessings

Throw in one heat wave that just went on and on and on, in the end resulting in a record-breaking four days of 100-plus-degrees temperatures. Throw in a sudden, swift line of storms on a hot June 29th night in the area which upended trees, resulted in power outages that left thousands in the city and area without electric power.

As time passed, people without power, people carefully making their way through streets blocked off by the presence of fallen trees, people waiting endlessly in lines at gasoline stations (many stations were closes due to electric outages), people and restaurant owners who had to throw away food going bad for lack of refrigeration, people unable to use their advanced fone and computer tools and toys, the elderly suffering in homes without air conditioning, all made their feelings known.

A great daily and plaintive note began to be heard in our area, over the airwaves, in tweets and toots and blogs and e-mails.

Most of us experienced the discomforts of the storm and the heat wave which have made their presence know all the way across the country, and we can be excused if things just got plain frustrating. The ongoing television commentary, often hysterical warnings and coverage from self-styled storm centers and watches didn’t help much: one weatherman kept telling us that such and such a place was getting “hammered” by hail and thunderstorms while another displayed his gift for making the word “huge”—as in huge storms, huge hail, huge heat—sound even, well, huger, than it was.

But as one local commentator says, “Folks, let’s get real.”

Things can always be worse. Can’t get your e-mails or tweet or text your friends: read a newspaper (ours, included), or, use the phone, if it works. If not, send a card. Did that falling tree across the street scare you? Be glad it didn’t hit the place where you live, and we can tell stories about that.

More important—like snowmageddon and other natural disasters that are increasingly more a part of our daily lives—you survived. Sure, times are a little more anxious, given that we’re only in early July with lots of good old summertime left with all its attendant climatic dangers. But you survived, and not so much worse for wear.

Some were not so lucky. The storm—and the heat—caused fatalities across the country, including in this region.

Two elderly women in the area were killed when trees struck their home. A man on his way home from school died when his car was struck by a tree.

Mohammad Ghafoorian who lived near Woodley Park died that Friday night. Power lines hit his Maserati, and it went up in flames. He ran out of his home to put the fire out but stepped on a live power line on the ground. The story, told in the Washington Post, was filled with irony. But his son summed all it up best, when he told the newspaper of his larger-than-life father who emigrated here from Iran: “He lived like a storm, and a storm took him. I think only a storm like that could take him.”

And then there’s Carolina Alcalde, a D.C. resident, native of Peru, office manager for a national consulting firm and avid motorcyclist who was struck by a tree on the night of the storm near Meridian Park. She suffered a severed spinal cord, broken rib and fractures and was paralyzed below the waist. A special fund has been set up for Alcade and her family by friends. We encourage our readers to help if they can. Visit their fundraising website: https://www.wepay.com/donations/camp-carolina.

Let us count our blessings.

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Sun, 31 Aug 2014 04:14:15 -0400

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