It’s strange. The first thing I did this morning, yesterday morning, and the morning before that was turn on the weather to get a feel for where Hurricane Irene was and what she may or may not do. If you’ve never lived on the East Coast or have never experienced the power of one of these storms, I don’t know that I can explain that feeling of dread– that lump that grows in the pit of your stomach– when you look at that tracking cone and they list your city as the strike zone for the eye wall. And where we live, unless it’s obviously going to plow straight into poor Florida, we see it far more often than not.
There’s more to it, though. It’s kind of a sense that you start to get. If they start with your city, odds are pretty good that you can expect it to land somewhere north of you. When they started here, I turned to my husband and said, “It’ll hit the Outer Banks. Again.” This was said with no joy, no glee, only a mingled sense of both relief for us and amazing sadness for the people who would ultimately bear the brunt of whatever wrath this storm might bring them.
That’s when you hope for winds to shear it, and you pray that the intensity lowers just enough. Just enough.
And then you wait.
And you think: Do we have water? What about the kids? How close will this thing come to us? Should I take in the patio furniture? What if it turns unexpectedly? Where do we go?
And then you wait some more until you know.
We were lucky. I’m proud of the school districts for making the decisions that they did– both full closings and half days. In my mind, it was the right decision, as some of the worst rain bands began shortly before they would have originally ended their school day. No one wants their child riding home on a school bus during intense rain and gusty winds. I am not pleased with the local news channel’s portrayal of events at Folly yesterday morning. They failed to
mention that Folly just about has no beach at high tide on the most perfect of
days. It was that frenzied, The World is Ending Right Now reporting,
which isn’t right given that, somewhere soon, someone else’s world really IS
getting ready to be rocked.
In the end– as of right now, we’re experiencing the last vestiges of wind that dear Irene has to offer– we fared well. No broken limbs in our yard. The storms of the past week seemed to take care of the remaining brittle branches. No flooding–the rain was just intermittent enough. So much so that I was able to step out for a few minutes between the bands to take a few shots. I’m sure I looked ridiculous wandering the front yard with my husband holding an umbrella over my head so I didn’t get caught unaware by another band of rain– they start, then stop, then start again.
There is nothing like the cloud bands of a hurricane. They swirl. Intellectually, you know they rotate, but to watch them…it’s…they swirl so quickly.
When I was going through these images, I argued with myself about whether to crop out the trees and roof peaks. Ultimately, I realized that you needed them to really understand just how intimidating these clouds really were.
They just went straight up… and they swirled.
Last night as Irene moved parallel to us, we watched the sun set behind her clouds. It’s always been incredible to me how something with such beauty could be so destructive. I suppose that’s just the way of Nature.
I keep thinking of the teenage girl who my mom and I overheard as we shopped at Target the other night. I hope we have a hurricane. I don’t want to go to school tomorrow. I find myself glad that she doesn’t know, and hopeful that she never has to find out the hard way what the price for that power and beauty truly is.