In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, National Geographic ran a cover story about the increasing number and severity of hurricanes. I sent the magazine to a friend whose parents’ home was destroyed on the Mississippi coast.
At the time I was worried about the future of New Orleans — not New York.
The images coming out of Queens and New Jersey this week look a lot like Louisiana and Mississippi post-Katrina. My family was fortunate: Being far enough inland on Long Island, flooding was not a danger. But my mom said her house shook unlike anything she had experienced in her life, and a towering oak fell over in the front yard, luckily away from the house.
My family went without power for nearly four days. Cell service was wiped out for much of that time, but mom had her trusted, wall-mounted rotary phone that allowed her to stay in touch. An oil lamp brightened the nights.