Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricanes and Tension

I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of rain and wind beating the side of our house. Hurricane Irene had arrived, and she hung around all day.

I've lived in Eastern NC for seventeen years now and experienced many hurricanes.

The first was Hurricane Fran in 1996. Yes, we had to start with a big one! Fran made landfall in Wilmington as a Category 3 and proceeded right across Eastern NC. (The eye passed over our town sometime around 2am.) We had no idea what to expect and were totally unprepared. No bottled water, no batteries - our only flashlight died at about midnight, an hour after the power went out. We spent the whole night in our hallway, listening to 100mph winds and wondering if the roof would still be there in the morning.

We were lucky only to lose a few branches and shingles from the roof. Others were not so lucky - this is the Motel 6 sign on top of three cars. A few days later, Raleigh released flood waters so they wouldn't flood - and flooded every town along the Neuse River. (Thanks, Raleigh!) Fortunately, we don't live in a flood zone.

Irene battered our area with 40-50 mph winds and gusts even stronger. At least it hit during the day, but it was a very long day and the rain didn't stop until 7:30 that night. A few branches down, leaves everywhere, and over five inches of rain. Our power flickered all day long, but we never lost it.

A hurricane can certainly add a lot of tension to a story. The preparation, the waiting, the long hours of listening to the wind roar, the fact that you are trapped in your house for the duration, storm surge for those on the coast, surveying the damage afterwards, possibly going for days without power... If you've never been through one, interview someone who has - because I don't recommend first hand research!

31 comments:

Eric W. Trant said...

Forget the writing lesson, I'm just glad you're all right, and glad Irene didn't inflict the damage she could have.

I'm from the Gulf where everyone has a tracking chart in their living room, so yeah, I've been through hurricanes. I worked on the highway department road crew when one rolled in, shutting off roads and being right out in the thick of it, and I rode into town the day after Ike hit to help my dad clean up.

Ike, that was something. Houston looked like an apocalypse movie. I felt like I should have had someone in the bed of the truck with a large gun protecting the eight cans of gas and stack of bottled water we were hauling in.

Glad yall are all right.

- Eric

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Diana this sounded terrible, we had an unexpected hurricane many years ago but it wasn't on the scale of what Irene was,The main thing you are safe thank the Lord for that.
Take care.
Yvonne.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

So glad you didn't lose power or sustain damage! Whew! The Charlotte area, of course, didn't even have a drop of rain...I took the kids on a bike ride on Saturday.

Anne Gallagher said...

I didn't know you lived in NC. I'm in Winston, but we didn't get anything from Irene but some wind. I've been through two hurricanes when I lived in RI, Gloria in the 80's and Bob in the 90's. I lost a large part of the house with Bob and was bouncing around on friends couches for 6 weeks. Not something I'd recommend.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Eric, that sounds intense. Have you seen the footage of Hatteras Island this morning? It's underwater and the roads are washed away.

Yvonne, we are safe.

Elizabeth, I wish I'd had your day.

Anne, I'm sorry. And Bob is a terrible name for a hurricane.

GigglesandGuns said...

How the heck did you type this? My hands would shake for a week.
Loved your closing lines.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are some really flat cars!
Glad you're all right.

Liza said...

I agree. The waiting for the storm is horrible, but a great exercise in suspense! It sounds like where you are in NC got about the same as us here in MA...although we lost power for a couple of hours. Back to a beautiful day now...and the music of chain saws.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Mary, Saturday was nerve-racking, but Sunday morning was bright and sunny. After cleaning up the yard, I couldn't even tell we'd had a hurricane.

Liza, I was surprised how far north this hurricane traveled.

DL Hammons said...

I'm glad you made it through relatively intact! The only hurrican I've experienced up close was surprisingly enough in North Carolina when I was in high school. Some vivid memories there! :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, I can't imagine going through a Category 3 hurricane. If that hit our town, it would be gone and under water. Scary stuff!

Karen Walker said...

So glad everyone is all right, Diane. It's so scary.
Karen

Matthew MacNish said...

That's one crazy photo! Glad to hear you made it through safely.

Hart Johnson said...

Very glad you made it through this one safely! We get tornados here, but unless you are at the eye, it's not quite as bad... and i guess we get blizzards, but those don't tear off roofs, so if you can stay inside, you are okay. I like weather having a roll in stories, but weather that big takes over.

Karen Lange said...

Yes, first hand research of this kind is not really fun! So glad all is well with you and your family!

Jemi Fraser said...

So glad you got through it unscathed - very scary stuff!

Clarissa Draper said...

I have been through a hurricane a few times and they are scary. I'm glad you're all right.

Shari said...

Glad you made it through!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

DL, I think it's because NC sticks out further, it's an easy target.

Hart, it made our entire weekend weird.

Jules said...

AMEN, I drove out of OBX once in a Nor'easter, never do that again. Really thankful she spared you. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We lost power for almost twenty hours here in central PA and also lost four huge trees in our back yard. Well, they didn't blow away must lay down and pulled up large parts of the yard along with their roots.

LD Masterson said...

Glad you weathered the storm.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

It was nice to have a firsthand update, Diane. Very, very nice blog.

Best,
Carolyn

p.m.terrell said...

This has been a year I want to put behind me, weather-wise! I started off my spring book tour getting caught in tornadoes in TN and MS and driving between tornadoes in AL to get back to NC. Once home, two bands of tornadoes came through. Now Irene! We were extremely fortunate here - our power remained on, we got about 6 inches of rain, and gusts only up to 33 mph. We were at the southwestern edge of the storm. Last night we got heavier rains and another storm, though it was short. Now I find myself tornado-and-hurricane weary. Snow looks pretty good to me now!

Talli Roland said...

Wow! I'm so glad you stayed safe, L Diane. I was thinking of all my blogging buddies on the East Coast, and wishing them well.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jules only someone from NC would know what OBX means!

Susan, sorry about your trees. Most of the ones that came down here were Bradford Pears - poor root systems.

Trish, you've had your fair share! I'm definitely ready for snow. Maybe at Christmas again.

Jess said...

Wow, I'm so glad to hear that you're okay. I've lived in the Midwest and Colorado my whole life and have never experienced a hurricane. You're right about the tension and build-up--just watching those radar maps get closer made me shiver!

Monti said...

Glad you did okay. Looking at the flattened cars reminded me that a local resident had relatives take refuge from a beach area only to have their two vehicles as well as his one all destroyed by fallen trees. Hope we don't get any more this year!

Monti

NotesAlongTheWay

Suzie F. said...

Hi L. Diane! I found your blog through Alex's annoucement that he'd be guest blogging along with Matt and Talli. I'm now a follower :)

Glad you made it safely through the hurricane. We were lucky in eastern MA. There were some trees and power lines down, but we came through it okay. Unfortunatley there are some people still without power today. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who experienced a lot of damage.

Lynn said...

In our area it is tornados and I don't recommend first hand experience for research either (unless it is a controlled enviroment like a movie studio). I must admit though, I like the 'mood' storms create-fear, anticipation, even excitement. I'm glad all turned out well with you and your family!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I went through Agnes and few others, growing up in Southern Maryland. Been stationed a few places where they roared in too. Scary, scary things. Glad you're okay and yay on not losing power. So many did.

I've learned over the years and many disastrous storms, 1. when they say evacuate, I do. 2.Be prepared for the worse. I'm in tornado country now. I always have enough water (for the household and the animals), candles, lanterns, batteries, and food to last a week or more. That goes for winter and ice storms too.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE