Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Storms & Secrets


The surprise is now out of the bag! I have been given the awesome opportunity to host another CSN Stores give-a-way! Yes, the wonderful people at CSN Stores is offering one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate to spend at one of their many online stores. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from cookware to cribs to specific needs such as dining room sets and dog beds!

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It's summer and if you live on the gulf coast you know what that means....Hurricane Season is upon us. Yes, we are steadily watching the tropics now as Tropical Storm Alex is making is unpredictable way to make landfall sometime this week. While our area was gravely affected by Hurricane Ike back in 2008, many are still undergoing repairs and restoration from the devastation he caused. We also have the issue of the BP oil leak in the gulf as well. So as with any year, hurricane season is one that no one can take lightly. There are so many issues and concerns that factor into the ever changing weather conditions.

I can remember back to 1983 when hurricane Alicia struck our area. I was a youngster back then but I vividly remember being awakened to my bed violently shaking. I immediately rushed out the living room to find my Mom. She said to begin cracking open the windows in the house. Not knowing or realizing what was going on, I did what I was told. We all heard the sound of a frieght train passing by the side of our house. What I didn't know at that moment was this was no freight train, it was a tornado and it was inches from our home. As soon as the windows were opened we all felt the house "breath." Had wee not opened them when we did, our home would have been destroyed by the affects of the tornado.

If you've ever experienced a hurricane you know how unpleasant and at times scarey it can be. As we sat in our home all we could do was huddle together in our living room. No one dared go through the rest of the house as it was pitch black due to the power being out. Candles and hand held flashlights were the only source of light we had to direct our steps. The rains fel harder and harder with each passing minute. Winds blew stronger, lighting and thunder clapped so loud and hard that you could feel it in your very soul. You couldn't see out the windows as they had been boarded up for protection against flying debris. Only when the eye of the storm passed through was there an uneasy sense of calm. We walked out onto the front porch only to find that the rising waters were almost at our porch floor. We still had the other side of the storm to go through so we prayed that the water would not rise enough to enter our home.

There was a change in the atmosphere and we all knew to get back into the house. The eye was quickly passing and it was time for round 2 of the storm. What a frightening time it was. Once things were over and the slightest light of dawn began to peek through the clouds we knew we had survived the worst. Water was over waist high on the adults and for a child it was much higher. The remnants of hurricane Alicia certainly were seen and felt. No one really got any sleep so we were all exhausted from the over night events. Roads were impassable and electric wires were dangling all around the city. News reports on the portable radio, which was our only means of communication to the outside world, stated for everyone to shelter in place. Well really, where on earth could one go in a situation like that!?! But I guess to help deter looters they had to make the announcement.

It was early in the morning hours, I'm not sure just when exactly but it was before 9am that we heard a knock on our door. Who could be at our house in the midst of all of this, we all wondered. Mom answered and there stood my Dad and Uncle. How on earth did they make it to our house? They couldn't have driven here. No they rode a downed telephone pole across town to our house to check and see if we were ok. Not the best move, as there could have been snakes in the water, live electric wires and who knows what else in that nasty water. But they persevered to make sure that everything was ok. (In case you don't know, my parents are divorced so my Dad wasn't there at Mom's home when were went through the hurricane.)

As the days went on water slowly subsided, power was restored and the clean up began, not just at home but all over the island. It was not fun by any means but after many months things seemed to come back to some sense of normalcy. However, once you've lived through a major storm like this you never forget it. Nor do you ever take any tropical disturbance in the waters lightly. There is always that sense of "what if it comes our way" that floods your thoughts.

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Hurricane Ike was a grim reminder of the past when he tore through our area. Thankfully we did not sustain any damage from it but my Mother's home, closer to the gulf, felt the affects once again. 11 feet of water and sludge rushed through her home destroying anything and everything that stood in the way. She, like many others, lost much of what she had over a lifetime built up. Thankfully she had insurance to help but no amount of insurance benefit can ever replace family photos, memories, family antiques and the sense of security that something this catastrophic rips from you.

Why am I telling you my storm memory? Well, I have my reasons....this is how you will enter to win the fantastic CSN Store prize. Simply leave a comment sharing with me a story of your most frightening weather moment. I realize we all live in different areas of the country so some may have their own hurricane story, while others may share about a blizzard or drought. Whatever it may be, just tell me about it and I will select a winner from the entries to award the prize too. It's that simple. Entries will be received until Sunday July 4th at 10pm (central standard time) and the winner announced on Monday July 5th, 2010.


Jen said...

We live in Western NY, so really the only weather related story we have here is the occasional snow storm. Thankfully we have not had a blizzard in quite a while. But when my son was a baby we had a miroburst (I think that is what it is called) a tornado on its side. I had no idea what it was, until I saw calf hutches flying in the air...really!! Thankfully there was no damage where I was, except the poor calves.

Jen (jenbrandes(at)frontiernet(dot)net

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

I too remember Hurricane Alicia. The worst and most frightening for me was that prior to the storm, my mom went to a "hurricane party" at someone else's home. (I suppose she thought the storm wouldn't be as bad as it was) She became stranded at that location and I was left at home to ride that horrific night and early morning out alone. (my brother was living with my dad in montana and i'd just returned from my aunt and uncle to live with my mom, once again.)

Our house had huge picture windows in the bedrooms, livingroom and dining room. Our windows had not been boarded or taped up so, when I looked out the livingroom window, through the flashes of lightening I saw several feet of water in the street and all sorts of debris flying through the air past our home. At that time I realized that something could fly through any one of our windows. I spent the rest of the storm huddled in the pitch black windowless hallway listening to the winds scream erie howls. After the storm I was left alone for 2 days without electricity, telephone or running water - our area was so flooded my mom couldn't get home. (thankfully, the flood waters never entered our house).

Although she grew up on the Gulf Coast, and had weathered several hurricane's, including catagory 5 Hurricane Carla in the 1960's which devistated Galveston, Houston and other surrounding areas, she had not prepared our home, water or food supply for the storm or it's aftermath.

I know exactly how frightened you must have been during Alicia, it was the worst storm I, too, have ever experienced.


Mary at Deep South Dish said...

I live and grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so I've experienced many hurricanes - unfortunately both Camille and Katrina. Camille - well that was pretty awful in the aftermath, but I was young, but the shell shock of Katrina is still with me. That hurricane pretty much changed my life and the life of most of my friends and family. One entire section of my neighborhood was completely wiped away and is a constant reminder with the slabs and overgrowth left behind even today. It was and still is traumatic.

Another hurricane prior to that, don't even remember the name now, we experienced that sense of a tornado passing nearby too. We were all piled in the hallway on a mattress at my mama's house - she and my dad had passed away by then and I didn't feel safe at my house. Next morning we found a path wiped across all of the backyard fences. That is scary knowing one was so close!

mary at deepsouthdish dot com

Rhonda said...

we live in Oklahoma, the tornados don't really scare me but the ice storms do.
Just this Christmas Eve, we had a snowstorm blizzard with a sheet of ice on top of heavy snow. It really put a crimp in most everyone's plans.