BEFORE THE STORM
We knew she was coming. We knew days in advance. First she was coming to Florida. Then she was forecast to go thru Florida and curve back into the big bend area of Florida as a category one or two storm and out into the Atlantic Ocean. This was definitely going to be someone else's storm. We had no plans to evacuate. Then they started forecasting her into the Panama City area of Florida. Still no problem for us. Then they started forecasting her to come toward us in the Mobile Alabama area. At this point it appeared that it was traveling west and going to bypass us completely. Next she was forecast into the New Orleans area. We still felt safe riding it out at home because it was not forecast to be that big and probably would not spread back to us. But then she hit the warm waters of the Gulf Of Mexico and started to build. Before we knew it she was forecast as a category five hurricane. At this point it was too late to change our mind. The evacuation routes were all gridlocked with cars. We would get some category one winds as we rode her out if she kept her forecast path. If she veered east as alot of storms have done, we would be in deep trouble. We waited.....
DURING THE STORM
All we could do is wait. Days earlier we had filled the cars with gas, filled the bathtub with water, bought batteries and non-perishable foods, etc in preparation. Sunday night the first feeder bands were starting to show up. They would get stronger and stronger as time went on. We were up early Monday morning. Conditions outside were deteriorating rapidly. By 6:30AM we lost our electrical power. We turned on the battery television to get information. We were told that the worst damage would occur around 1PM. that was a long 5 - 6 hours. At first as the storm was south of us the winds and rain were out of the east. The trees behind us pretty well protected us from that. Alot of limbs and twigs were falling out of trees. Then as the storm moved up west of us, the winds came much stronger and out of the south. Our mobile home is laid out east - west so the winds were hitting us broadside. We were ok until the underskirting blew off. Then the winds got underneath us. We really rock and rolled. It was like when you are sitting in your car at a light and a truck goes by rocking your car. At the height of the storm we got 48MPH steady winds and gusts to 78MPH. For a while it got scary. We sat in the window and watched big trees bend and fall over or break off. Several neighbors had trees fall on their roof. Later in the afternoon everything tapered off as the storm went further north.
AFTER THE STORM
After the storm died down we got outside, checked for damage and took some pictures. Fortunately for us, our only damage was the underskirting on the mobile home with broken trees, limbs, branches and twigs everywhere. The local squirrels probably lost every acorn in their trees. Many of our neighbors did not come out of it as lucky as us. We saw a few roofs missing, walls blown down and lots of trees on people's roofs. Utility lines were strewn everywhere. Fortunately, we did not see catastrophic damage such as homes completely destroyed. We spent three days without electricity in 90+ degree heat and occasional rain. May people still do not have electricity. We got cable TV and computer modem back today, 10 days after the storm. We had never lost water or telephone service at any point during or after the storm. Mail delivery resumed on Thursday, three days after the storm. Gas stations had gasoline, but no electricity to pump it out. As businesses very slowly got electricity back, long, long lines formed. People waited several hours in hot lines to get something that would normally take a few minutes. We live about a block from the CSX RailRoad tracks that parallel US90. Our intersection is rated at 30 trains per day by CSX, which makes it a pretty active track. The trains always stop running during big storms. We can always tell when the bad weather has passed when the trains start rolling again. In this case the trains stopped running sometime Sunday evening. The first train did not come thru until noon on Friday. Of course the first train was 45 cars full of roadbed rock headed west to aid in the repair of the tracks that were destroyed in Mississippi and Louisianna. The second train to go thru was the same train going back east empty Saturday afternoon, presumably to re-load. The trains are still not back to normal 10 days after the storm. Thank you Verizon. Verizon gave every cell phone in the hurricane area a $1000.00 credit on their phone balance, good for 90 days. We have two Verizon cell phones.
Click HERE To View The Pictures.
Click HERE To View Bayou La Batre 5 weeks later.
Click HERE To View Biloxi Mississippi 5 weeks later.
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