Dominoes

The powers that be have signed the contract that assures Hurricane Harvey (2017) will have robust progeny in my neck of the planet into what future is foreseeable. In a forlorn holding action against storms to come I’m having a standby generator installed.

If you still have a roof and windows, the greatest hardship in the aftermath of a drubbing is the loss of electricity, measured not in hours but in days. Most of hurricane season falls during the hottest, dankest time of year on the Texas coast. Functioning air conditioning (or at least fans) during storm recovery is almost as life-sustaining as food and water.

The generator will run on propane, a large tank of which is being installed as I write. Gasoline is a nonstarter since hurricanes exhaust supplies of it quickly. Natural gas can fuel a generator, but there must be an available connection (none in my case), and one gambles on the gas supply not being interrupted during or after a storm — not a sure thing.

Propane is a decent compromise — my tank will power the house for a week; however, there must be enough diesel fuel on hand for delivery trucks to reach customers. The diesel supply got perilously low after Harvey, according to my dealer — plenty of propane, no way to deliver it.

On another front, the municipal water supply was cut for several days because pumping stations ran out of fuel and couldn’t be serviced due to flood waters. (Rainfall was measured in feet, not inches.) Plenty of water, no way to pump it. The local supply, by the way, is chlorinated river water. For consumption, I subscribe to a service that delivers six hefty bottles of purified water monthly. Keeping my pets and me hydrated also depends on a reliable diesel supply!

The four-story building that houses my doctor’s office and dozens of medical facilities lost a portion of its roof during Harvey. The ensuing flooding ravaged the entire building and its contents. It took months of remediation to restore it.

The analogy that leaps to mind in pondering the climate reckoning is the proverbial row of dominoes. The services we depend on and indulge in are helplessly interdependent; the fall of one can trigger a chain reaction. My great state is throwing down the gauntlet to Mother Nature. No doubt Mother will take it up.

(Copyright 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.)

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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