For over 24 hours our eastern coast has been battered by Hurricane Irene. Nearly ten people are dead. Over 2 million people have no power.
Yet between CNN and The Weather Channel, it’s all about NYC. I watch and listen because I’ve family and friends in the greater NYC area and Canada. But it’s all about NYC.
When we suffered through Hurricane Ike three years ago, which was a Cat 5 hurricane, the folks in NYC were upset because they couldn’t reach any of the Houston people to get projects done. We had no phones, no electricity or water, no gasoline to get to the office. Plus there was no power at the office and all the windows were blown out. We had no water for a week.
FEMA brought snack food to people who needed meals, and when stationed in poor communities decided to only give water and food to those who drove up in cars, not the people in the neighborhood who couldn’t afford a car and walked to get their ration of two gallons of water. FEMA was afraid the walkers might come back again for another share. FEMA had three years after Katrina to clean up their act. Ike was another black eye. Hopefully they have their act in gear now because living without power or water really sucks.
We lived in a four-story loft in Houston at the time and two units had no damage at all, ours and another. My husband and dog slept through an eight-hour Cat 3 hurricane. I was up, even in front of the windows, writing. The skyscrapers 1/4 miles away had all their windows blown out. Streets were flooded. It was 100 degrees outside and we sweated it out, going down to the bayou and pool to get water to flush the toilet.
Then we had to drain our tank of gasoline to drive to the airport and attend my mother at hospice while she died. When we returned there was still no gasoline and others (we were close enough to City Hall to probably be on their generator) had no power for weeks. People in the Heights all had power on one side of the street and ran extension cords to their neighbors on the opposite side.
My thoughts are with all those affected by this storm. Down south, we have a hurricane kit and prepare to “hunker down” even when officials should have ordered us out and instead mandated us to stay. We left for Hurricane Rita and lived through both Rita and Ike.
Please stay out of the polluted water on the streets and away from electric lines. Concentrate on getting bottled water and edible food, not snacks if you have the choice. Take care of the young and elderly first. Don’t expect FEMA to help and don’t waste gas in line for hours to get whatever they give you. Get out of town to the nearest unharmed grocery store, after visiting a gas station to fill up. You’ll know to avoid the ones with grocery bags over the pumps.
Best of luck, our thoughts are with you. Perhaps you’ll remember that next time you think of Cat 3 and 4 hurricanes in the South an inconvenience to your office routine. We’re people too. Wishing you well, Dee