What Irene Hath Wrought

We hope that Cambridge will someday recover from the aftermath of this biblical tempest

Last week, Hurricane Irene ravaged the Caribbean, North Carolina, and Vermont. It also, we hear, caused quite a ruckus in nearby Boston, which went so far as to shut down public transportation for a whole day (Pity on those who rely on public transportation!). We, however, in the hallowed halls of Harvard, which—for the record—managed to stay somewhat dry during the deluge--wish to emphasize that we, too, were almost devastated by this tempest of epic proportions.

Cambridge, after all, is only a short jaunt from the Vermont countryside, the pictures of which we’ve been frankly appalled to see over our morning lattes here in Boston’s Left Bank. Imagine: that could have been us!

Irene, of course, wasn’t exactly kind to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She interrupted the President’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, and—worst of all—she deprived a brand new group of Harvard freshmen the opportunity to attend the storied First Chance Dance and the essential Sex Signals seminar, which, for reasons beyond our comprehension, was scheduled the night following the dance.

Needless to say, Harvard was woefully unprepared for the almost shocking amounts of wind and rain—30 whole minutes of precipitation—that could very well have fallen on the Commonwealth earlier this week. Although each student received somewhere in the vicinity of 30 emails warning him or her about the dangers of the weather—and the dining halls were stocked with far too few ranger cookies to withstand the storm—no one was prepared for the intensity of the storm that might have been.

For a lucky few Harvard students, flights that were canceled and couldn’t be rescheduled until Wednesday kept them out of the area until after the majority of Irene’s fury would have worked itself out, but without a doubt those who were delayed until Thursday were luckier still, as much of the damage we did sustain from Hurricane Irene is expected to take almost half a week to clean up completely.

From the tree branches that fell down, to the waters of the Charles, that became sort of choppy, to those who may have, unfortunately, been caught in the rain for a bit and maybe ruined a favorite pair of boat shoes, it seems evident that Harvard did not do nearly enough to prevent the damage (which under different circumstances, had the potential to probably be pretty severe) that Hurricane Irene managed to wreak.

Additionally, we heard that rowing practice was moved to the indoor erg machines. Head of the Charles is just a few weeks away, when you think about it. How will we continue our Winklevai legacy with waters as tempermental as these?

We have to ask, for a school with so many resources at its disposal, how could Harvard not have more adequately prepared their students for a storm that, when you think about it, could have really probably been pretty wild, and maybe lasted for a pretty long time.

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