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Weathering the Storm

It appears that eastern Loudoun fared relatively well in the multi-day rain and wind storm stirred up by Hurricane Sandy. The visible signs of damage seemed limited—an electric utility box leaning precariously under a broken tree near the intersection of CountrySide Boulevard and Carrollton Lane, flooding in the low-lying areas in front of Falcons Landing and some broken branches along Algonkian Parkway.

On the less visible side, the CountrySide website seemed to be offline for a while (possibly unrelated to the storm), the golf course at Algonkian Park was closed Tuesday, Oct. 30, and the Haunted Forest at Algonkian Park was cancelled for Halloween night due to extremely soggy ground.

According to Algonkian Park manager Mark Whaley, things were fine at the park on Oct. 30, although the biggest factor, flooding, wouldn’t enter the equation for another day.

“Very few trees were down,” he said. “One tree came down, it kissed one of the cottages. Other than that, there’s not very much damage at all. Just lots of limbs and things we had to clean off.”

“We didn’t even lose power,” he said, “which is unprecedented.”

While he suspected that the park’s good fortune was related to a lower than expected wind speed, Whaley also gave credit to advance planning.

“Part of it is being prepared,” he said. “We were very fortunate, I think.”

Big storm events provide a good opportunity to be aware of the first responders who are on hand to help us through the dangers associate with these difficulties. It’s a matter of course to thank the sheriff’s department, the fire department, the EMS crews and the folks who restore our utility services. We’re grateful to each and every one of them for their work in these difficult situations.

In addition, there’s one more group that deserves some hard-earned, but seldom received, recognition for an altogether different type of work: the folks who keep the area’s grocery stores open and stocked, especially in the days preceding—and during—a big storm. It may seem unpleasant to head to a crowded store to pick up needed items, thinking about emptying shelves and long lines, but consider what a work shift in that storm-prep environment would be like. These workers make sure the food gets to the store at just the right time in advance of a big storm, and spend hours stocking bulky and heavy grocery items, making endless amounts of prepared food, checking out seemingly unending lines of shoppers and helping load car after car with purchases—all with a smile on their face in front of crowds of customers—and all while having no idea if they’ll be able to get home safely because of the weather.

These hard workers help us weather the storm safely in the comfort of our home. In fact, our homes wouldn’t be as comfortable during a storm without their help.

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