A life-threatening hurricane always hits on or around my birthday; it never fails. It’s tradition for me. We had no hurricanes last year which is odd, but the year before that was hurricane Isabel on September 3rd 2003 which I will never forget. I literally saw my neighborhood turn into a disaster area before my eyes. There was no flooding really but it’s quite a sight when 20 foot trees decide they want to play dominos.
Being natively from an area that usually gets hit by hurricanes, a lot of people not familiar with the area ask me why I would stay in Virginia because the hurricanes are so dangerous. In my honest opinion, I have been through the earthquakes in California and the blizzards of New England and I’d take a hurricane any day compared to that.
Two years ago, is when the last hurricane came, Hurricane Isabel which turned my neighborhood into a natural disaster area; trees had fallen, there was no gas because there was no power which we had none for about 2 1/2 weeks. It was hot. It was muggy. Sticky. Nor did we have any food after a few days. Hurricane Isabel was the first time ever I found myself a victim of a natural disaster. I have faired through hurricanes before but this was the first time we had been without power for more than a few hours. After about 2-3 days being without power, and no bath, is when I noticed people losing patience, including I, with the situation. We had to hurry and cook our food on grills before it spoiled. We feared the water may have been contaminated so we boiled it. Luckily our stove ran on gas and not power so it worked. There was no communication, no phones, my cell phone wasn’t working, and so we had nothing but a pack of batteries and a cheap radio where we could hear about the going on around the rest of the city. And that was nothing good to hear but how people died in their homes because they put their generators INSIDE the house. Or how when power was restored in some neighborhoods, houses literally blew up in flames because someone left something on and it caught on fire in the power surge.
We lived by candlelight for a little over two weeks and began losing patience at around 4 days so I can certainly feel what the people in Lousiana, Alabama and Mississippi are going through; I’ve been there and done that. Done that enough where I hope it never happens again.
I live on the peninsula and for all those who flunked or weren’t paying attention in Geography class, a peninsula is basically an island; it’s a jut of land that has water on three sides like the panhandle of Florida. There is only one way off the peninsula and that’s west through I-64, through Williamsburg which there is one main road in and out. There is a saying around here that one day “The Big One” will hit the area and just like the Hurricane of 1667, the most dangerous recorded in Virginian history, formed Willoughby Spit, a hurricane will break off the peninsula essentially making it’s own island eventually. Does that scare the shit out of me? Not really although I feel that it should. Because a Hurricane Katrina can just as easily happen here as well.
I was browsing around the net for info on the Hurricane of 1667 that struck Virignia and interesting enough, I found a quote from a witness which somehow got in a newspaper in London, England. What’s so interesting about it is the date, remember when I said my birthday August 26th is prone to draw hurricanes in or around it, well check out the date on this one, the worst to ever hit Virginia:
“Sir having this opportunity, I cannot but acquaint you with the relation of a very strange tempest which hath been in these parts (with us called a hurricane) which had began August 27th (September 6th Julian calendar) and continued with such violence, that it overturned many houses, burying in the ruines much goods and many people, beating to the ground such as were any wayes employed in the fields, blowing many cattle that were near the sea or rivers, into them., whereby unknown numbers have perished, to the great afflication of all people, few having escaped who have not suffered in their persons or estates, much corn was blown away, and great quantities of tobacco have been lost, to the great damage of many, and utter undoing of others. Neither did it end here, but the trees were torn up by the roots, and in many places whole woods blown down so that they cannot go from plantation to plantation. The sea (by the violence of the wind) swelled twelve feet above its usual height drowning the whole country before it, with many of the inhabitants, their cattle and goods, the rest being forced to save themselves in the mountains nearest adjoining, while they were forced to remain many days together in great want.”
You all may think its crazy but a lot of the people here actually LIKE hurricanes; I know I do if its not a strong one. They aren’t as dangerous as people think especially if you stay in a brick house on high ground. My mother worked for NOAA and even before then when I was little, she would take us out to the beach as the hurricane approaced so we could see the waves. There is nothing breath-taking as seeing monstrous waves pounding the coast. I really like hurricanes … when they play nice.