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Hurricanes, then and now

Harvey's destruction prompts Ike flashbacks

Buffalo+Bayou+continues+to+flow+rapidly+after+Harvey+seizes+a+large+chunk+of+the+bank.+The+hurricane+damaged+a+vast+amount+of+land+in+the+Houston+area.
Buffalo Bayou continues to flow rapidly after Harvey seizes a large chunk of the bank. The hurricane damaged a vast amount of land in the Houston area.

Buffalo Bayou continues to flow rapidly after Harvey seizes a large chunk of the bank. The hurricane damaged a vast amount of land in the Houston area.

Samuel Teas

Samuel Teas

Buffalo Bayou continues to flow rapidly after Harvey seizes a large chunk of the bank. The hurricane damaged a vast amount of land in the Houston area.

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Hurricane is the first word that most people would use to sum up the past two weeks. The United States was hit by two hurricanes, both being Category 4 at landfall. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and parts of Louisiana while Hurricane Irma tore through Florida.

Hurricane Harvey hit like a truck. It flooded and destroyed many schools, businesses, and homes. People were evacuated and displaced and lost everything that they had.

The hurricane was all over local and national news. I was constantly in the loop of what was happening, not only in my city, but other cities that were affected by the storms. I heard personal stories from people in areas hit before we were. The news was constantly updated, so I knew what areas were getting better and which were getting worse. Many of my friends and family live in different counties, so I monitored their weather alerts and status.There were many stories of people who probably wouldn’t survive the storm because they chose to hold their ground in an evacuation zone. I heard the stories about how families got separated, not knowing if they were going to be reunited, but also stories about the families separated and reunited. Looting and looting horror stories seemed to be everywhere I looked.The rescue stories warmed my heart, and I appreciated the break from the stories about the negative effects of the hurricanes. I checked to see what the Cajun Navy and first responders were doing to help. I heard all of the news.

I had all the information, good and bad, but somehow that wasn’t enough. I wanted to know absolutely everything.

I have experienced two category 4 hurricanes, but Hurricane Harvey was the first of the two that I knew what was happening around me.

 

September 12,  2008: Hurricane Ike (Category 4) makes landfall.

I was 8 years old. My younger brother, Tommy, and I were initially told by my mother that Hurricane Ike was just a big thunderstorm, and one of our friends, David, who was like an older brother to us, and his mother were going to be spending the night. I knew what a hurricane was. I learned all about it in school, but I never made the connection that the big storm my mom told me about was a hurricane.

I didn’t think much of the storm. I was just excited that David would be spending the night. He arrived at our house about an hour before dinner, and he had a big box of stuff with him. Most of the stuff was personal possessions, like pictures. I didn’t really understand why they brought over that stuff from their house. I didn’t get to wonder why for long because the brand new Wii console caught my attention.

I was so excited to play! I wanted to play all of his cool games that he bought over, so I immediately dragged him to the game room to set it up. Setting up the Wii took a while, but I wasn’t too concerned because I knew we would have all night to play. Playing the Wii was the only thing that mattered to me then.

The wind could be heard outside, and it started raining. The rain wasn’t very heavy, so it didn’t spark my interest.

Immediately after dinner, Tommy, David, and I rushed to the game room to start playing the first of many games we were planning to play. We decided to play Cooking Mama. The evening drew on, and so did our game. I could hear the rain and wind getting stronger, but at the time, that really didn’t matter to me. David hit a crucial moment in the game. He had to stir the soup on the stovetop so it didn’t get burned. He couldn’t afford to lose focus because he already messed up chopping the vegetables.

Then the electricity went out.

We let out a collective groan. The thunderstorm was going to ruin our soup and make Cooking Mama give us a bad grade.

Then the electricity came back on.

We let out a collective cheer. The game was where we last left it, and out final grade was saved.

This happened many times. Each time, there was a groan and a following cheer.

The electricity going out frustrated me, but I didn’t know that the electricity flickering was due to the intensity of the storm outside.

It was a little past our bedtime when my mom came in to tell Tommy, David, and me to shut down the game and get ready for bed.

I got ready for bed and started to head to my room to sleep, but I couldn’t get there. The hallway leading up to my room was packed full of air mattresses. Mom said that we would be sleeping in the hallway and to think of the whole experience as a giant slumber party. I asked her why I couldn’t sleep in my room and she said it was because It was too loud in my room. You could hear the wind through the window by my bed, and the rain was pounding down on the street.

Her reasoning didn’t make much sense to me, because how bad could the wind or rain be? But I obeyed and slept in the hall. All of us kids fell asleep to the rain hitting the roof and the wind whistling in our ears. The next morning when I woke up, it was silent.”

Her reasoning didn’t make much sense to me, because how bad could the wind or rain be? But I obeyed and slept in the hall. All of us kids fell asleep to the rain hitting the roof and the wind whistling in our ears.

The next morning when I woke up, it was silent.

No wind and rain could be heard, unlike the night before.

I rolled off my air mattress, tiptoed my way around Tommy and David, and I made my way into the kitchen to get some breakfast. My mom, dad and my mom’s friend were all awake, drinking coffee. I ate some cereal and waited for everyone to wake up, so we could play more games.

When everyone was awake, we were about to disappear to play Cooking Mama again, but my mom called David and I over and sat us down.

That’s when I learned what had actually happened last night.

She told us about Ike. She didn’t want us to freak out because of the hurricane, so she kept it from us. When David asked how big of a hurricane it was, Mom took us to the front yard. There were trees on their side in the street. Trash was everywhere. I could tell how much it rained by looking at the puddles in the yard. The puddles in our yard looked like small ponds. I saw how much damage the hurricane did to our yard, but I didn’t know how much damage the hurricane did everywhere else.

I started connecting the dots. I knew why David was at our house and had many personal possessions with them. I knew why the lights flickered. I knew why I couldn’t sleep in my room. I knew why the wind was loud and the rain kept pummeling down.

I was glad that I didn’t know the true destruction Ike would bring the night of the storm.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Hurricanes, then and now”

  1. anita miller on September 13th, 2017 9:04 pm

    Wow 3achel, you described your experience with little recognition of what was going on around you. It was beautifully stated and tota,ly understood.

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