Hurricane Sandy has officially made landfall on America’s East coast for the second time in as many months. Here’s what some of the lesser outlets are saying about her comeback. —B. Keyes, I. Woolley
It’s welcome news in the fight against those who doubt we’ve entered an Age of Superstorms. They won’t be quite so vocal today after Sandy—the counterclockwise femme fatale terrorizing the Atlantic since 2012—strikes the Eastern seaboard for the fourth time this year.
A fortnight ago, Americans were celebrating the end of a triple-Sandy ‘hurricane season from hell.’ Now a nation is wishing it hadn’t uncorked the sparkling wine so soon.
The serial-killing superstorm was sighted off the coast of New Jersey yesterday, just before dawn. Within minutes government scientists had identified it as the same 1,800-km female last seen a month ago, allaying short-lived fears that there might be two different hurricanes in the area.
Sandy debuted in October, 2012, but only attacked once that season. For reasons still being clarified by climate change scientists—but thought to be connected to climate change—she’s subsequently made multiple incursions a year into human territory.
Singer Charlotte Church apologized this morning for the “hurtful timing” of a Tweet suggesting that we “start asking why hurricanes hate America.” Calling herself a massive bimbo, the 29-year-old today claimed to have misunderstood news reports, believing Sandy had just departed, and not arrived at, continental United States.
Ms Church promised fans of the original Tweet that she would re-post it “as soon as the proverbial storm has passed.”
But for the 3 million people within Sandy’s known hunting grounds there’s nothing proverbial about her. If past rampages are any guide, entire tracts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are about to become uninsurable. Residents of America’s ruined zipcodes—serial rebuilders and first-time victims alike—might be forgiven for unfollowing a certain chesty chanteuse. Just as soon as the power comes back on.
Is the atmosphere’s latest attack on North America another vindication of Mr Gore’s prophecy, in An Inconvenient Truth, of an imminent ‘age of superstorms’?
Since the barometric behemoth’s return yesterday in search of human victims, the former Vice President has been holding his tongue.
“Vice President Gore has never used bodies as political footballs,” said a spokesman for the billionaire today, “until they’re cold.”
But according to at least one US tabloid, neighbors of the climate entrepreneur are complaining of “loud gloating noises” coming “from the [Gore] compound.” These take the form of an unearthly crowing that starts after honest men and women have gone to bed, if The Inquirer is to be believed.
Locals, inured to the sight of Sandy by now, were waiting at Brigantine to welcome her ashore with home-made placards, T-shirts and faux-indigenous blessing dances. The cyclonic phenom’s celebrity status was undeniable, and—as the beneficiary of separate gushings from Ellen and The View—virtually inevitable.
Culture theorists are already parsing yesterday’s spectacle on the New Jersey shore as a sort of ultimate, if ultimately bathetic, logical extension of feminism. And why not? In a TV season bereft of strong woman characters, why shouldn’t a real-life vortex of windy death get the role? Anything men can do we can do better, goes this reading of Sandy’s high concept—up to and including drowning a few Caribbeans in their sleep.
This paper has no intention of wading into waters already whipped to a pink foam by braver opinion-holders. But we can’t help wondering if Gov. Christie (NJ) wasn’t the designated voice of sanity at today’s emergency presser, during which he admonished the extreme weather event’s groupies that—quote—this is no fairground attraction. It’s a wild animal, folks. It will kill you without a second thought, unquote. If the speech erred on the side of condescension, well, perhaps it needed to: these people err on the side of being an idiot.
Was one Lady’s look of indomitability the start of a cyclonic grudge against NJ, NY?
A growing number of scientists are convinced large predators like Sandy can read the facial cues of assertiveness—like the flared nostrils, Bernini lips and unapologetic glare of Lady Liberty—for what they are: a challenge demanding violent satisfaction. This, at least, is the theory behind the statue’s $1.2bn ‘facelift,’ which dials the statuesque firebrand’s suffragette tude down a notch or two.
If the ethological hunch pays off, it will be a small price to pay for peace of mind on the seaboard.
But in what increasingly seems like a case of logistical incompetence, the familiar visage was surgically flayed before the replacement had arrived. Irony then intervened in the form of Sandy herself, whose rampage has kept the new, less in-your-face face waiting in France. Political heads are sure to roll over the myopia that’s disfigured the very face of a nation for 48 hours—and counting.
Naked to the elements, the great bronze teeth, maxillofacial bones, sinews and optic stalks are reportedly traumatizing Ellis Islanders and driving property values down as far as the dangling eyeball can see. The mutilated icon is less courageous, acid-victim chic than she is haunt-your-dreams, chimp-attack gross. One late-night wit suggested it was an HBO publicity stunt for House Bolton gone sickeningly wrong.
Sandy last made landfall in November, but the ensuing rampage was diverted by a blocking system, and it’s hypothesized that she was forced to return to the Atlantic without getting her fill of death.
National sighs of relief were misplaced, felt Harvard geologist Daniel P. Schrag deep in his bones, who tried to warn that Sandy would soon be back—correctly.
In a perverse tragedy, he is listed among the missing after this morning’s floods.
Historically, the country has never begrudged emergency spending or the need for bodies like FEMA, but some are now starting to question whether serial rebuilders deserve the aid intended for victims of truly unforeseeable disasters.
Scientist Jonathan Overpeck came under fire last month for laughing at the “stupidity” of Americans who “fail to take the hint” the first time Sandy destroys their house.
One woman we spoke to, in a dilapidated suburb on the outskirts of Atlantic City, N.J., is under no illusion about what it means to live in Sandy’s favorite stalking grounds. All the same, Glenda Petrovskaya says she plans to stay in the house she’s owned for three quarters of a century. In the last three years her neighbors have either moved out of the area or fallen prey to the hurricane, but if Mrs Petrovskaya, 88, is scared, she’s hiding it well.
“I can still picture the hurricane that took my momma to her reward. I was 6 years old. Today’s hurricanes think they’re all that and change, but Sandy doesn’t impress me,” says the 70-lb grandma, and reloads the pump-action she’s been nursing for emphasis. The gun is as tall as her.
“Little bitch wants me, she knows the address.”