Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene - Not the Only Blowhard

Irene is threatening the east coast of the United States. It is scheduled to hit the North Carolina coast and then move right up the coast possibly hitting seven states. This is the first hurricane since the 1930's to threaten New York City and the possiblites for disaster there are very different from threats to N.C. . Coastal areas in NC are seasoned in meeting this kind of threat. New York City is full of people with no cars and dependent on the "underground city" that supports the city above. Flooding, not winds are the threat to the island.
In any case we are blessed to have early warning systems that give days for preparation. If people will just refrain from being stubborn blowhards who feel they know better than the experts everyone can be safe.

I grew up in Florida in the 50's and 60's when we had much less warning and certainly less predictable forecasts.I remember being in a very sound structure boarded up, with lots of supplies, and being without power (to a child that reads -no TV). I remember the hard work I did boarding up.Kids used to help, and our parents were busy boarding up the business, I also remember the overwhelming clean up job after the storm. As a kid it all seemed quite exciting not scary.
Today homes are not built like that anymore even in Florida. A wood frame house just cannot withstand the same force of winds. Our house was concrete block and stucco, with stucco interior walls. The roof was built of barrel tile specificaly designed to stay through hurricanes. Our windows had custom designed plywood that screwed on with bolts and allowed windows to be opened on the side of the house that was away from the winds.
I was never afraid . I remember sitting at the window watching the police inspecting the road where an electric wire had come down.I thought it was great because my family had potato chips and soft drinks and other treats we rarely ate in those days. It was a family party and at least one time it got me out of taking a test at school.(It must have been Math if I remember it so joyfully)

Now I live safely in the Piedmont of NC and we rarely get more than heavy rains left over from hurricanes that have blown apart. Hugo was the big exception . It came right up through this part of the state and destroyed lots of big trees and some structures. It lives in infamy.

We used to really tease the poor girls who shared names with these storms. Now they are named for boys as well and the equally opportunity extends to all ethnic groups,giving some poor newsreaders and weathermen a difficult time properly pronouncing the storms. Irene is a good old fashioned name. It sounds so sweet and grandmotherly. Perhaps because it was my mother's middle name I feel this way and the the old song "Goodnight Irene" plays sweetly in my head every time they mention the storm. Let's hope Irene is a little less blowhard and a little more sweet as it hits our coastlines in the next few days.Stay safe wherever you are. One day the east coasters can tell their grandchildren about the week they experienced both an earthquake and a hurricane.

A blowhard is a boastful or talkative person according to the dictionary. Hmmm does that refer to the storm or this talkative blogger?

1 comment:

  1. We were all very fortunate. Irene could have been alot worse.