Weathering the Storm

The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas is beyond belief. When people say it is of epic or Biblical proportion, that is no exaggeration. We have all been glued to the TV and watched in horror as neighborhoods were wiped out; families were displaced indefinitely, and now alligators and snakes are in the flood streets.

Yet, the stories that have warmed all of our hearts are the rescue stories. The courageous young men and women who have done more than 400 air rescues have made me so proud, as many are from Air Station Cape Cod.

How about the members of the media who dropped their cameras and clipboards to race into a house to help a family crying for help. Again, that made me proud…certainly proud to be an American.

The visible proof of neighbor helping neighbor and stranger helping stranger has been heartwarming beyond description.

And in the midst of our very troubled world with white supremacism on the rise and North Korea with its finger on the trigger… it has been wonderful to see people pull together for the common good. No one cares about political affiliation or color or religion. It is just people reaching out to assist fellow human beings.

We at St Mary’s Church in Barnstable Village are holding a car wash to benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey on Saturday, Sept 2 from 9am – noon. All donations collected will go to the American Red Cross. So come with your dirty cars and please make a donation. We hope this will be the start of more grass roots fundraisers in Barnstable. Not everyone can write a check for $10,000, but everyone can rally together to raise some money and awareness.

Climate change has been a hot topic for the last 10 years, and I certainly believe it is affecting our weather. Over the last 100, years the average sea temperature has risen 1.5 degrees, and the sea level has risen 8 inches…and warm water is the fundamental fuel for a hurricane. So with warmer water and more of it, the atmosphere and oceans are creating more high-intensity hurricanes. It is proven that warm climate equals more moisture in the air. And more moisture equals…you guessed it…more rain. Hence, bigger, wetter hurricanes. Look at Harvey…dumping 50+ inches of rain over a five-day period….and in the same spot. Unbelievable .

And many experts are reminding people in the crisis that is isn’t the wind that is the most damaging; it is the water. “The wind will wreck your house, but the water will kill you.”

As Houston and other areas in Texas and Louisiana begin to dry out and start the process of rebuilding, I hope that each of you can help in some way.
Make a small or large donation, volunteer with Red Cross in the Hurricane-stricken area, or organize a fund drive. Whatever you do, give to a reputable, renown, and trusted entity like the Red Cross or Salvation Army. And beware: There are already scam artists ripping off people making donations to a false entity, ignore internet’s “pop up” fund me pages.

Hurricane Harvey, like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, has absolutely decimated an area of our nation. It is up to us to work together to bring back Texas to the great state that it is. We should also be prepared for the time when the Big One hits us. Because, as I’ve said before, when it comes to disasters, it’s a question of when, not if.

Judy Walden-Scarafile Managing Director, Cape Cod and Islands Major Crisis Relief Fund