Call it luck, answered prayer, a fluke, or whatever you want – but somehow, we have managed to avoid major damage from multiple catastrophic storms this year. Between the initial tracks of Laura and Marco threatening to join forces, to the tracks of Sally and Delta headed our way before shifting, to – by some miracle – maintaining power through the winds and rain of Zeta, I can only be grateful that we’re back in the clear at the moment. (Ask us again in a week, because the storms just keep on coming).
I’m a transplant from New York, so despite hearing about hurricanes from family and friends growing up, I’ve never been through a bad one.
I moved here in 2012, a few months before Hurricane Isaac hit. My husband had to stay, as he is an RN and was activated. So, I evacuated to my grandmother’s house with our two dogs since she had a generator. It rained and was windy, and we lost power for a few days, but in the big picture, we were okay. Soon after Isaac, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and I watched the destruction from my new home in Louisiana. The news was on at work and I just stared, tears silently flowing, knowing that those New Yorkers were woefully unprepared in every way, because hurricanes just weren’t something we’d ever dealt with. It’s only within the last couple of years that many of them were able to return home and rebuild.
Fast forward a few years, and we were coming up on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Like 9/11 for me, I think everyone I have come in contact with has their very own Katrina story. My husband still tells me stories I’ve never heard before because he has so many. I remember watching news coverage and having a mini-meltdown because I was worried about leaving him to stay home and evacuating with our then two-year-old twins. Since then, not much has happened. We’ve moved to a new house, and during the process of moving, I made sure that our important items were organized and easy to grab. The likelihood of us actually flooding or sustaining water damage is slim, but I like to be prepared.
A couple of months ago, while anticipating a storm, I moved our patio chairs inside and turned the table upside down just in case.
I was talking about it with some family members who have tons of experience with hurricanes. “You’ll learn when to get ready, and when to get READY.” Sure, most of what happened to us this year hasn’t been too bad, but my aunt’s words rang true – “It only takes ONE hurricane.”
My mom and her family lived through some major storms, long before Katrina – Betsy, Camille, Juan, and Andrew, to name a few. There’s not nearly the photo evidence that we have access to these days, but the memories and stories are real. I remember my uncle telling me that they stayed in his family’s brick house because back then, the view was that a brick house was a better house for hurricanes – but that during Betsy, he could feel it moving during the wind gusts. He was a teenager at the time so there may have been some exaggeration there, but that always stayed with me.
What’s that saying? Failure to plan is planning to fail?
I’m the first to say that despite researching most things in my life, I know nearly nothing about hurricanes and always defer to my husband and extended family for guidance. BUT, I’ve also saved many posts about not getting too stressed beforehand, ways to prepare myself and my family, and how to help others in need when the storm has passed.
But, like 9/11 was for New York afterward, I’ve found that there’s an amazing sense of community, love, and camaraderie that can be there after the storm. Many employees of the company I work for went to Lake Charles to cook for our team members and first responders after Hurricane Laura. Before we moved, one of our neighbors was emptying out his fridge since we’d lost power, and we brought our grill out and just started cooking for the cul-de-sac. Things can be rough sometimes, but in the end, we come together. We see the destruction on the news, but in our neighborhoods, groups, families, and small areas, we’re here for each other, and that’s comforting enough for me.