We’ve been watching the weather channel a lot today. As this monster storm approaches landfall it’s rather like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
This morning as I was about to get up John had already turned on the weather channel. I knew something was up when I kept hearing “Camille….” That didn’t sound good. For us, the “good news” is that the course of the storm has moved west, and not right over us. That means we’re on the wet side though, so tomorrow and Tuesday look to be messy, windy and WET.
Back to the slow motion train wreck — Katrina is bigger than Camille. She covers the entire northern Gulf of Mexico. Jim Cantore is even sounding more nervous than excited. The weather channel reporters aren’t on the beach for this one — one is on the north side of Lake Ponchatrain, on inland up on I-65 north of Mobile, and Cantore is camped in a veteran’s retirement center 27ft above sea level in Gulfport MS. And I’m watching with what can most politely be described as a morbid fascination.
Storms do fascinate me. They also scare me. I read “Isaac’s Storm” and I was 16 when Camille hit. I sat through Opal as she roared inland, still with 70 mph winds as she roared over us sitting here nearly 200 miles inland. The five of us (JP and me and the kids) went to bed in the hall in the center of the house. I finally got up and got in my bed. We were so insulated in the hall that I couldn’t hear the storm and that made me more nervous than the sound of the wind. We had some branches come down, and a tree across the end of the street. Only 2 blocks away, friends sat in the dining room, praying the Our Father while trees crashed around them. When it was over, there were 9 trees down in their yard – one had nicked the garage roof, but the rest did no damage to the house. Other friends were without electricity for at least a week. Our freezer was full of other folks stuff.
But this time, I’m afraid New Orleans will have a really bad go of it. It’s really bad for those who were unable to leave, even if they wanted to go. Imagine, being an inner city resident with no way out. Or a tourist who couldn’t get a flight out. And the rest of the Gulf Coast has barely recovered from last year’s storms, or the ones earlier this season. It’s the price of living a paradise I guess. It’s so beautiful when it’s beautiful, and but so often the great storms exact a toll.
And so I’ll watch the train wreck, and hope not to be hit with the shrapnel. And hope that Marie and Kevin are ok in Tuscaloosa, and Mama and Stewart don’t have damage in Florence. And Bob and Roger are fine in Birmingham…. And just stand in awe of the power of storms.