Hurricane Sandy hits Boston

Endangered houses off the coast of Scituate, MA, near Boston

No one can or will dispute the fact that New York and New Jersey have been the most drastically affected by Hurricane Sandy. The entire country is sympathetic to and praying for those in the disaster areas. Oft forgotten in the multitude of nationwide news stories that have been covered this week are those other Northeast cities that have been significantly affected. Major cities like Philadelphia and Boston essentially dealt with city-wide shut downs that were forced by the strength of the storm. The damage and flooding was not nearly as severe, and they have also avoided the shocking and scary number of fatalities that have occurred in New York and New Jersey. Similarities, however, are the shut downs that have occurred in the cities and most notably the mass transportation vital to commuter-heavy Northeast cities. Ultimately, the storm was more of a stern warning for Boston and Philadelphia than a catastrophe, but they are not without damage control.

If Boston had been hit directly by the storm, it could have wound up looking just like New York City and New Jersey because of the potential rising water off Boston Harbor. Luckily for the city and its residents, it was just outside the worst area of the storm, and dealt with severe rain and winds, but avoided major flooding. The 60-70 mph winds, however, which reached homes as far inland as Ohio, did take their toll on Boston and caused loss of power and loss of transportation due to falling trees. Typically, when storms shut down air transportation, those in the Northeast US can travel to major markets of Boston, New York and Philadelphia using the trains and reach such markets within a few hours. The most significant hurdle, therefore, has been the weather and falling trees on the rail lines. You may have heard about several cases of professionals traveling for business, or residents seeking refuge out of town, in which people could not take advantage of the rail line and were forced into an expensive cab fare. One woman, who was traveling for a medical conference, shelled out $750 for an eight hour cab ride from Philadelphia to Boston.

Ultimately, seeing the damage done in New York and New Jersey can help Boston and Philadelphia weather the storm (literally and figuratively) and take away an important learning experience. By realizing areas that are susceptible to flooding, and reinforcing preventative measures, the city can be prepared for future storms that may not be as kind.