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Hurricane Sandy: How to process the threat with your kids

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(Read caption) Hurricane Sandy, approaching the eastern seaboard of tthe US, sent waves crashing over protective sandbags in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Oct. 27, 2012. Sandy was expected to make direct impact Oct. 30 on the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast seaboard.

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I was five-years-old when Hurricane Gloria hit Boston in 1985.  I remember playing card games by candlelight, while my teenaged brother sulked that he was missing Miami Vice.

Gloria was classified as a Category 1 hurricane. At the time, it was the first major hurricane system to reach the Northeast and move inland in more than 20 years.

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Over the next few days, Hurricane Sandy, another Category 1 storm, is expected to wind its way up the east coast, probably dealing out the most damage to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

As parents hit the bottled water aisle at the grocery store and monitor the storm’s path, their children are listening in the background.

How can parents help their kids to process these kinds of events realistically without frightening them unnecessarily?

During Hurricane Gloria, I vaguely recall jumping as claps of thunder rattled the house and recently liberated tree branches whipped past the living room windows.

However, most of all, I remember a sense of delicious exhilaration as I sat with my family in the midst of deafening darkness, frightened yet safe.

Since then, I have experienced some crazy weather events. In fifth grade, Hurricane Bob uprooted a massive willow tree in my back yard. Lightning struck the hood of our family car while we were driving down the highway during a vacation in Florida, and in high school, an ice storm transformed the trees to glass.


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