In the rotten, negative environment that U.S. politics has become, the past few days after Hurricane Sandy have brought forth countless examples that goodness and greatness are still part of our heritage. What has struck me especially is the competence and courage of the members of the Coast Guard, who rescued 14 people from the HMS Bounty under incredibly violent weather conditions [“Tall ship meets its end in storm-ravaged seas,” front page, Oct. 30]. Pilot Steve Bonn, rescue swimmer Daniel Todd and the two other rescuers (whom I wish had been named in the article) are heroes, as is the whole Coast Guard Search and Rescue organization. They do this stuff every day, usually in horrible situations, and would probably tell you it is just part of their job.
Tom Balfour, Fredericksburg
Regarding the Oct. 31 Metro article “Pepco praised for how it weathered Sandy”:
I know that Pepco is acting responsibly. When my power went off at midnight Tuesday, my first thought was that I would be without power for days. I was, mentally, disposing of food.
But, surprise, surprise, the power was restored in 40 minutes. People can be quick to criticize and slow to praise. It’s good that Pepco is getting some well-deserved praise.
Louise Piver, Bethesda
As a retired meteorologist, I feel that the meteorological community, especially the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, should get special credit for the long-range forecasts of Sandy. Through much research, the predictions of storm movement and strength have improved in recent decades.
My first hurricane experience was the 1938 storm that raked Long Island and New England and uprooted many trees in my yard in Longmeadow, Mass. Forecasting for that hurricane was not good. It was strong and moved rapidly. The Northeast was not ready for a major tropical storm. Hundreds of people died.
Several days before Sandy hit the East Coast, its course and strength were well predicted, including the unusual turn to the west instead of the more typical path to the northeast. Considering the size and strength of this storm, the loss of life was remarkably low, thanks to the forecasting and the early response of the threatened communities.
Kenneth M. Nagler, Edgewater
Our great nation has led the world through many crises, and current challenges involving the economy and environment are handing us a new opportunity. Superstorm Sandy reminds us that climate change doesn’t just melt far-off polar caps and glaciers — it can hit us right at home.
The effects on our economy are undeniable, and the potential effects make fiscal cliffs, taxes and budget cuts trivial in comparison. The cause is not obvious, but accumulating scientific evidence points to carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Since this is a global problem of economic consequence, it is time once again for the United States to rise to its historic role as world leader.
D. Travis Gallagher, Potomac