Tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes oh my!

Irene damage

Upstate New York damage post-Irene (Photo courtesy of Michael Williams)

While this blog normally focuses on music news and other entertainment ephemera, I would be remiss if I did not use today’s post to mention the recent natural disasters that have impacted not only Western Massachusetts, but also various portions of the northeastern United States.

First off, last week’s earthquake in Virginia, which was responsible for slight tremors and many anxious faces in the Pioneer Valley, was a unique event. Those of us who live on the east coast are not typically used to dealing with seismic activity on any scale, and by hitting our area only a few short months after tornadoes ravaged downtown Springfield and other communities, all the shake, rattle and rolling no doubt left many citizens to wonder what next.

Well, the answer to that particular question certainly didn’t take long to manifest itself.

The force of an event like Tropical Storm Irene is still being felt throughout New England. And some parts of the valley are in the midst of adjusting to yet another day without electricity or the sight of water lapping at their backyards.

However, despite all the hype beforehand and all the continuing coverage of the storm’s aftermath, there are still those out there who appear to misinterpret the reasons behind the tropical storm’s arrival on our shores.

For example, Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann is currently taking heat over comments she made, where she interpreted the recent earthquake and hurricane as messages from God for politicians to start cleaning up their act in Washington, D.C.

She said, “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’”

Still, such strange ramblings aside, perhaps more incredible has been the reactions of those who continue to dismiss Irene’s impact just because the storm didn’t live up to many local homeowners’ or meteorologists’ expectations.

I think local author and website operator Dave Lartigue put it best in a recent tweet.

“Never seen so many people disappointed and angry that their shit didn’t get wrecked by a hurricane,” he wrote.

More Irene damage

More tropical storm damage (Photo courtesy of Michael Williams)

Is it a sad sign of the times that just because a disaster doesn’t affect one personally the tragedy it brings can be easily disregarded or placed at a safe distance?

Sure, many of us got lucky this time. But the potential always looms for the hammer to fall on us during the next go around.

So assist your neighbors if you can. Call a loved one to make sure everything is ok. Or at the very least don’t save your concern for the upcoming anniversary of 9/11. If that day taught us anything it is that we shouldn’t wait for calamity to strike before we spare a thought for our fellow humans in crisis.

Never hesitate to extend a helping hand if you can manage it. One day you could be the one reaching out for a reassuring grasp.


Whew. All apologies for the soap-boxing. If a less serious answer to all the crazy weather we’ve been having is what you’re looking for, I do have a theory.

Maybe this masked man is responsible. At least if I’m right we know exactly who we can call.

For more information on what you can do to help victims of Hurricane Irene please visit

And if you need a distraction, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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