Forewarned and preparedNO ONE could say we were not...

NOTES AND COMMENTS

September 18, 1999

Forewarned and prepared

NO ONE could say we were not prepared, that we were not warned. When Hurricane Floyd stormed through Maryland, emergency precautions were made well in advance and news of the storm's progress was regularly updated.

Flooding from the tempest's torrential rains was widespread. The town of North East in Cecil County was inundated by brown rushing waters that overflowed the banks of the North East River; a portion of the bridge on Route 272 into the town was washed away. Emergency teams responded promptly to the challenge.

Several deaths were partly attributed to the powerful winds and rains, involving traffic accidents and a heart attack. No one drowned or was killed by flying debris here. Evacuation shelters were ready, and more than 650 people took advantage of those havens.

Most noticeable was the loss of electricity to 600,000 homes across the state, caused by falling limbs and flooding, one of the largest power outages in recent memory.

Most of Maryland was spared the worst because a weakening Floyd veered off to the east, a whim of nature. But the preparations taken by Maryland authorities, combined with better weather forecast information, greatly helped to blunt the impact of Floyd's unwelcome visit.

Footnote: Floyd pushed metro rainfall levels for the year to more than three inches above normal, as measured at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Only three weeks ago, the state was under severe drought restrictions.

To err

THE DIRGES for Haussner's Restaurant, which closes in a fortnight, bring to mind the tendency to mispronounce the name, making it Howzner's. The Haussner family may have wondered, would spelling it with three s's have delivered the message? Probably not, for the many who, seated, ask to see a mainyou.

All this is a matter of ear, in the linguists' word. Ear, or the ability to notice, retain and duplicate vowels and consonants, is present in all but to uneven degree. Sometimes, mispronunciation bulls its way past every barrier. Who, in the past 24 hours, has not said gonna instead of going to? Back to the world of dining out, consider the downtowners, on their way to eat at Tio Peppy.

There is also the matter of eye, or the ability to notice an error in the printed word. Bobbles in spelling, grammar and fact jump up and wave to persons with keen verbal eye. A daily newspaper is sensitive to this; more staff hours are spent seeking and correcting blunders than the annoyed (or gleeful) subscriber is usually aware of. It hurts when we publish a correction.

To pronounce it air is human; to spell it foregive is human, too.

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