Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


July 14, 2013

HOPKINS: Hitting high tide on two issues

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’ve tried writing this column three times, but every time I attempt it the story changes, so instead I’ll offer a few thoughts on a couple of recent events.

First, I was caught off-guard late Friday when I heard that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had decided to include Niagara County — and specifically, Lockport — as part of the federal disaster area in New York state following last month’s heavy rain.

This story seems to change by the minute; just a few hours earlier I was writing that I wasn’t surprised that Lockport wasn’t going to be included in FEMA’s plans. Now, there’s been a bit of a reversal.

I’m still a little surprised that FEMA aid might be available for the city. Considering what happened in other parts of the state, the five inches of rain we received here pales in comparison. Although to some people around Lockport — particularly those whose basements flooded — the storm was a major disaster, it really wasn’t.

From my perspective, Lockport’s flooding was a drop of water; the flooding in the Mohawk Valley was a glass of water in comparison. They’re not the same. Here’s another size comparison: Had Lockport been hit by a tornado, it would have tossed a few cars and pulled off a handful of roofs. Compare that to the major tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo. two years ago which caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Likewise, the tornados earlier this year outside Oklahoma City.

The flooding in Lockport hasn’t really changed lives. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an inconvenience, or created a few hardships. Hey, if I had a “man cave” that got destroyed, I’d be more than just a little perturbed. But I also don’t feel like I’d have to wait for someone to walk up to me and say, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” either.

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