Hurricane Irene.Photo: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight CenterCross-posted from Natural Resources Defense Council.
Like most people on the East Coast, I’m anxiously watching the approach of Hurricane Irene, a swirling knot of wind and rain taking dead aim at New York City, where I’m currently visiting my family. I had been hoping to fly home to California on Monday morning, but now I’m wondering if that will happen. I’m also wondering about what kind of damage and health threats this hurricane will bring.
Almost precisely six years ago today, I watched anxiously as Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Gulf Coast. After that disaster, I was part of a health response team mobilized to evaluate the environmental damage in New Orleans. I remember entering the flooded city horrified and awed at the destruction that happened there — cars flipped on their roofs and piled on top of each other, houses obliterated or moved from their foundations, and the chalk marks on homes showing the death toll inside. We created a photo journal and investigated the serious health threats from rampant mold, arsenic-laced sediment and soil, and contaminated dr... Read more