So, yesterday, in the middle of the tropical storm, I had to drive to West Lebanon New Hampshire to pick up my son from some relatives. As I drove along (white knuckled) routes 4, 93 and 89, to get the 100 miles each way, I had some time to think.
First thoughts were around why would I be driving in a tropical storm (passing signs alerting people to adverse weather and urging us not to drive), and paying attention to the roadway and my fellow travelers.
Second thoughts were about the process of developing and laying out roadways. I finished, a week ago or so, a great book titled "Big Roads", which was about the drive to create the interstate highway system. It explained the inception (a brain child of automobile dealers and manufacturers - if you can't drive the car on nice roads, who will buy the car), and the process and time it took to get the idea of the ground. Most people know that the Interstate Highway Act was approved under Eisenhower, but in fact it was a brainchild of the FDR presidency, postponed by WWII.
Third thoughts were about the massive clean up that will need to occur as a result of the storm. While we didn't come across any downed trees, we did have to navigate around brush and the water ponding. Additionally, we passed some pretty high water elevations along banks of rivers and streams.
I was constantly thinking of the electric grid and the idea of burying electric lines so they aren't susceptible to weather. I was thinking of the costs, real and opportunity, of such an effort. I was also thinking of the environmental outfalls of the storm. How was water quality effected? How were wetlands improved or impaired by the storm?
Finally, I thought about the great opportunity to have a down day, a day where you don't hustle and bustle around, but sit at home with your friends and family. Enjoy the time without electricity or the need to be here or there. I was lucky, we didn't lose electricity at our house, but we did have a down day, and we did have dinner with friends and we did relax and that is a great unintended consequence of the storm.