Monday, November 12, 2012

Hurricane Journal: The Storm Itself

On October 28, a Sunday afternoon, just as the very edge of the hurricane winds were starting, JT and I drove my parents to the airport for their flight back to California.  When we got home, word that school was cancelled for Monday came via e-mail.   But other than the bits of wind and the ominous forecast, nothing happened.  Sunday need up being an anxious day of preparation for the unexpected.  I washed every bit of laundry I could find, charged up my cell phone, and hoped for the best.  For reasons of logistics, T and I were riding out the storm separately.  She lives in the woods and was practically guaranteed to lose electricity, though with a generator to help out.  Previous storms, including Hurricane Irene, had us convinced that the aftermath of this storm would be harder in her area than mine, and I have cats and my beloved home to look after, so JT and I couldn't just re-locate to her house.

Monday morning dawned dark and windy.  On and off throughout the day we had light rain.  Winds picked up steadily and at some point I realized that I could hear it blowing all the time.  By 4 pm, the local weather was reporting that Sandy was moving a little faster than expected.  The storm was upon the shore with winds in excess of 70 miles per hour and would soon be upon us.  Darkness came and the winds steadily picked up but we still had lights.  I kept expecting the winds to be joined by heavy rain but that never materialized.  As it was, the winds were enough to do some pretty colossal damage and we are incredibly lucky that the rain wasn't as heavy as the forecasters had feared.

Even as I grew confident that my basement wouldn't flood (and it never did), I began to fret about trees and the power lines.  Unlike my native California, power lines around here are above ground.  I could stand in my living room and watch the swinging lines to my house, a pretty frightening way to spend your storm hours.  At 8 pm, after one last flicker, the lights went out.  Winds were now sustained with gusts blowing over them (I later learned that some of those gusts were in excess of 80 mph…..I can believe it).  In the darkness, we could only hear the storm and the sounds were terrifying.  A piece of siding trim blew down off the house and then crashed about in the driveway until  ran outside in the dark to grab it before it could do more damage.  JT and I played cards and then went to bed to read in the darkness and listen to the storm.  To my complete surprise, I was able to sleep.  Now that the worst was upon us and I knew what it would be like, I was oddly relieved.  I woke at some point in the middle of the night and the wind was gone.  All I could hear was the sound of light rain.  I slept through the rest of the night, relieved that the worst was over.

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