Friday, July 08, 2005

Here We Go Again ...

Last August 13 (a day that I wish to make a national holiday, called Outrage Day), I was at work watching a hurricane called Charley moving up the west coast of Florida. Nearly all of the forecasts had it moving up the Hillsborough River estuary and coming ashore near Tampa, which meant that I might get some wind and rain at my house, but not much else. However, a few meteorologists were predicting that it might come ashore sooner - which, in fact, it did.

Hurricane Charley's eye passed almost directly over my house that night. I lost some shingles from my roof, my privacy fence was cracked, and my entire neighborhood was without power for three days. I consider myself very fortunate, even (dare I say it?) blessed. Some people lost everything, or were without power for weeks (no air conditioning - in Florida - in August).

One thing I'll say for hurricanes - they make you rethink what's important. You enjoy cable TV, air conditioning and ice machines in your fridge, but when the power goes down and you're traveling all over the county just to find a bag of ice you have a greater understanding of the power those "conveniences" have over you.

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne went over my house as well, causing far less damage than Charley did (which was good - parts of the county to the east and south of me still haven't recovered completely), and Ivan missed entirely. A friend of mine who lives in Pensacola told me that the damage caused there by Ivan was "beyond [her] capacity to describe" - and she's an extremely literate teacher.

So now we come to this year. We've already seen Arlene, Brett and Cindy, and now here comes Dennis, packing winds up to 150 mph and sure to savagely beat Cuba (but will we send any aid to them? Hell no - we might accidentally give some to Castro!) before emerging into the Gulf, getting stronger and, according to the projections, lay another dose of the Stomp and Whipsong on the Pensacola area.

Of course, I've got supplies laid in, including a generator. I'm not just taking the forecasts with a grain of salt - I'm using the whole shaker now.


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