Born as a tropical cyclone, Sandy merged with a north Atlantic storm of similar frightening power, a nor'easter. The story of devastation visited upon New England's commercial fishing communities by a similar convergence of bad weather in 1991 was detailed in Sebastian Junger's book, "The Perfect Storm." So catching was the title that a disastrous series of events has come to be known as a "perfect storm," just as a situation of contradicting rules that defy logic has come to be known by novelist Joseph Heller's title, Catch-22.
Even as not every literary work finds its way so easily into the fabric of everyday language, so not every storm that comes along has a legendary aspect. Floods happen. Trees are blown over. Snowfall can be paralyzing. A few storms, however, have such dramatic effects that their dates, or in the case of tropical cyclones, their names, are emblematic in regional lore. There's Isabel, the storm that wiped out the Havre de Grace Promenade. Katrina was a disaster with many notorious aspects, particularly what it did to New Orleans. And, you can't talk about bad weather in Maryland or Pennsylvania without mentioning the 1972 storm whose name is linked to the Latin word for lamb. The gentle appellation belies a storm that caused horrific flooding throughout the Susquehanna basin: Agnes.
It's likely Sandy will fall into the category of legendary storms and change for at least a generation or two whether parents consider assigning the name to their daughters, especially in New Jersey and New York.
Because enough storms have hit full force in these parts, it's likely a fair number of people understand that, despite the inconvenience of the closings, Sandy was a near miss when it comes to full-blown disasters. For a storm cutting a swath of destruction 100 or more miles wide, New Jersey and northeastern Maryland just aren't that far apart.
Whatever their motivation, a lot of people have begun efforts locally to offer assistance to those whose lives were much more hard hit by Sandy. The Susquehanna Hose Company, Havre de Grace's volunteer fire department, was a collection site earlier this week for donated items being shipped to those wiped out by the storm.
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Pylesville jumped into action as it does during many a disaster to gather aid and get it to where it is needed. And Looney's Pub in Bel Air was the scene of a collection drive for Sandy relief.
It's good to know that so many local people are willing to donate and distribute help so close on the heels of being grazed by such a strong storm.