Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Power of the Wind and the Weather

Two days prior to my wedding (in the wayyyy back machine), we had a "Hurricane Day" off of school (think "snow day") two days prior due to Hurricane Floyd. It rained and rained, and I gleefully tackled all those last minute bride things. Unfortunately though, our wedding venue had it's power knocked out, and we had to re-route the entire wedding in about 24 hours. We did--the day ended up being a beautiful day--and we are still in our "happily ever after."

Flash forward a handful of years.

We moved to Florida for my husband's job, where we lived about 6 years. During the first two weeks of our move there we had a tropical storm. I don't even think it had a name. The idea of it scared this Midwest girl to death. Unlike before when I was living in Maryland and it wasn't a direct hit, the intensity of Florida weather brought about more of a fear factor. All we got in my Hurricane Floyd experience was rain and power outages. Not necessarily direct hits. I was way more accustomed to the occasional weirdly-green sky that accompanies a tornado and the dash to the basement than any kind of water/ocean destruction. Other than anxiety, we clearly survived with the only fall out we had was a hyperspaz dog and watching the intensity of rain fall on us. 

Flash forward another handful of years.

After living in Florida, you find yourself saying seemingly-bizarre statements like "It's only a Category 1 hurricane" and "that 'cone of uncertainty' will shift and we'll be fine." It's funny how experience of "weathering the storms" gets you here. Yes, we boarded up our house a few times, and we also packed and left occasionally, to go to the other side of the state to avoid the brunt of it. But we were always fine. However, we also saw the destruction from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At one point earlier in its trajectory, Katrina had been tracking right to us. Luckily it shifted leaving us fine, but horrified for New Orleans. We counted our blessings on more than one occasion.

Flash forward 16 more years.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa swept through our time while we were vacationing in Duck, NC a few weeks ago. We had a lovely day of massages in store--perfect for the rainy weather--and were surprised by the limited amount of rain we actually got. We had already preemptively "battened down the hatches" the night before at our rental house,  so we weren't really worried. Yes, there were white caps on the 2-3 foot deep Currtick Sound out our back window, but nothing more. Those comments came back to our kids: "It's only the tail end of a tropical storm." It made for a relaxing indoor day of books and games and comfort food. Until bedtime.  That's when the strongest band of weather came through. Being in a beach house and right on the water, we were more exposed than I had ever been in a weather situation. I've never felt a house shake like this. The wind was intense. I later discovered it was upwards of 25 mph with gusts up to 42 mph--all from 11 pm to 3 am. No wonder the house was shaking, the way these homes are built up--not fully on stilts, but with openness underneath.  I never got into full panic mode, but it was a level of angst I hadn't felt in awhile. I think some of the calming effects of the massage earlier that day had worn off.

But we weathered the storm and even slept some. In fact, the sun was out and skies were clear by 7 am the next morning. The only true evidence of a storm (other than the still-jitters in my stomach) was the debris line halfway up the yard showing how high the water rose.

Even the osprey nest next door looked like it had also weathered the storm quite well. Given that, I'm a bit in awe at their construction skills!

It definitely shows you the power of nature, and leads you to a reverence where you honor that power. It causes you to take pause as you watch the events and intensity on the rise and breaking records. And it certainly has you counting your blessings. 

"Tropical Storm Alert" image from, Hurricane Floyd weather map from, Category 1 hurricane chart from, Wind Chart for Duck, NC from, all other photos from my camera.

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