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So long to Sandy

Much of Franklin County and the rest of the immediate region dodged most of Hurricane Sandy’s destructive power this week.

Although the storm took out power locally, downed trees and isolated flooding, the area was spared much of what Sandy unleashed.

Just look at what happened in the greater New York metropolitan region.

In Sandy’s wake on Tuesday, some 5 million residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were without electrical power. Add additional outages elsewhere from the storm and the figure gets to more than 8 million people and businesses.

And then there was the flooding.

A 13-foot ocean surge — 3 feet above the record — pushed its way into New York City, sending water into the subways, tunnels and other facilities below street level while the streets in some neighborhoods around the city weren’t much better — forcing the evacuation of people from buildings.

The storm also played a part in the destruction of some 80 homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens as firefighters were hampered in fighting the blaze by flooding and storm.

And Sandy helped dump several feet of snow in parts of the Appalachians.

President Barack Obama declared New York City, Long Island and eight counties in New Jersey a federal disaster area on Tuesday.

In all, more than 50 deaths were blamed on Sandy. Meanwhile, the economic toll — from damaged and destroyed buildings and property to halts and delays for various business — is expected to run into the billions.

One of the things to consider here is that this storm just could have easily kept moving north before turning west .... the Pioneer Valley and its neighbors could have suffered through a lot worse.

That’s something that people should think about before criticizing the decisions to call off school or close offices early on Monday. It’s easy in retrospect to say that those responsible jumped the gun in keeping children out or sending people home.

But a slight change there or a twist here and we would have seen worse weather — creating greater odds that someone could have been hurt. Given what we have seen elsewhere with this storm, we should be thankful that the loss of a school day is the only concern for most of the region.

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