Who’s afraid of a big bad hurricane?

Man down!

Well I can check “survive a hurricane” off of my bucket list.

This past weekend Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane.  According to the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, a Category 1 can produce winds between 74-95 mph and a storm surge of 4-5 feet.  Our approximation to the Pamlico Sound was worrisome, but we decided to stick it out and stay through the storm.

We had plenty of time to get ready for Irene’s arrival.  So, prior to the storm I made all of the necessary preparations that were recommended:

– Get food, water, cash, gas, ice

– Fill bathtub up with water

– Secure all lawn furniture, garbage cans, windows, etc

– Have plenty of flashlights and candles on hand

– Locate your battery-powered AM/FM radio (or buy one in my case)

– Figure out your “safe spot” in the house, away from windows and preferably in a central room

– Park your cars away from potential falling trees

Despite being prepared, something happened BEFORE the storm that caught us off guard.  One of our pecan trees decided to shed a limb right on our power/cable lines.  Luckily the city responded quickly and got our power up and running before the storm got on top of us.  Only a few hours later the wind speed picked up and the light misty rain turned into a downpour.  Irene was on her way.

Sleep was minimal that night.  Just knowing that at any moment the howling wind could topple a giant pecan tree through our roof and into our bedroom was enough to keep my internal guard on high alert.  By 8am Saturday morning our power was off again.  I was actually surprised that it stayed on through the night.  With no end in sight, we hunkered down and took a front row seat to this massive display of Mother Nature outside our windows.  DH was supposed to go into work, and valiantly tried (crazy I know) but couldn’t make it due to fallen trees and flooding.  I was grateful to have him back home and not out in the storm delivering mail.  Who really expects to get mail during a hurricane?

The power outage gave me ample time to work on some projects I had put on the back burner.  I spent the majority of the day scrapbooking and making gifts, while DH played his guitar, kept a watchful eye on the yard and our cars outside, and even ventured out into the storm to unclog a sewer drain that was causing flooding on our street (how brave!).  We napped, played scrabble, drank, ate, took phone calls from worried family and friends, and listened to the weather updates on the radio.

All the while, the pounding of rain and tree branches on our house and screeching wind began to wear on my psyche.  By late afternoon I was done with the noise, the lack of power, and being cooped up in our home.  I felt guilty the whole time thinking that there were others who had suffered more, especially during Katrina.  I had to try to keep things in perspective, but in the moment it was challenging.

My whole mood shifted when we got our power back that night!  Power meant light and DVDs and recovery efforts!  To celebrate I made White Russians and we sat down to watch The Big Lebowski.  What a great way to say farewell to Irene.

The next morning I woke up and peeked out of our bedroom window.  The sun was out, the streets were  matted with leaves and branches, our yard was full of limbs and debris, and it was quiet.  Ahhhh…the silence was beautiful!  I snuck out of bed, threw on some clothes, grabbed my camera and hit the streets to see the damage Irene left in her path.  Neighbors were out cleaning and checking in on each other.  The river was high but calm and serene,  resting easy after two nights of unrelenting turbulence.

Our clean-up started soon after I returned from my “reporting”.  It didn’t take us too long to drag all of the large limbs out to the street.  My pepper plants took a beating but I was able to get them back in order and secure them with some of the large, fallen branches I picked up in the yard.  After a while, our yard was looking like our yard again.  Throughout the day, as clean-up continued, the streets became lined with hills of debris.  Three days later the debris is still there, but the city will get to it eventually.  They still have their hands full with power outages and flooding, so they will get to it as they can.  Overall I think they have done a wonderful job getting power restored and keeping us safe.

To be completely honest, a Category 1 hurricane might sound wimpy but it is still very scary.  The fears that accompany events like this are real and drive our survival instincts through the roof.  Fears remind us that we are unbelievably fragile and at the complete mercy of Mother Nature.  Her forces will always be more powerful than the forces of man.  In situations like these, all we can do is prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and help each other along the way.

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August 30, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environment, Life.

One Comment

  1. Mom replied:

    You two did a splendid job getting through the storm!! Glad the Pamlico stayed within the river banks…..have a fun weekend Pink, and thanks for calling me! Luv Ya!

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