In a previous letter to you, I wrote that there was a small tropical storm brewing in the Caribbean Sea which was moving upon warm waters and was about to form into a hurricane. I told you it wasn’t coming toward us, but the forecast track had become unpredictable. I kept hearing from the local meterologist that the storm was strengthening, but it was expected to hit Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico. As I was contemplating this, I went out my front door of my apartment to check my mail and I found a notice from the property manager taped to my screen.
It read that it was imperative for the residents to prepare for the impacts of hurricane Dorian upon the Carolinas. A hurricane watch meant that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher were possible. The watch would be posted 48 hours before the tropical storm force winds of 34 to 74 mph were expected in our area. A hurricane warning meant that hurricane force winds were expected and would most likely occur. We must be aware of the latest weather forecast, local conditions, and evacuation orders. During a hurricane watch was the best time to gather our storm supply kits. These included a three day supply of bottled water, assuming that a person consumes a gallon of water per day. We must keep a three day supply of food which requires no refridgeration or cooking, and to keep a manual can opener handy in our kitchen drawers. It would also be a good idea to have a battery powered radio and a flashlight for every person in the apartment (do not use candles). We should also keep a first-aid kit, spare batteries, and a seven day supply of our medications that we take, along with keeping our cell phones fully charged prior to the storm and to utilize text messaging to communicate in order to preserve battery life. If a hurricane warning is issued, we should remove all items from balconys and porches, as these could become lethal missles, and to close all window drapes and blinds to prevent flying glass or debris from getting into the apartment and injuring someone. We should clean the bathtub and fill it with water for flushing toilets and for sponge bathing (do not use it for drinking). We should also inform family and friends about our whereabouts during the storm, and have this important contact information available if we cannot access it on our phones. And we should gather up our important documents, such as our renters insurance policies, along with the contact number from our carriers or representatives. Our health insurance policy numbers, along with our contact numbers, should be where we are able to get to them. Also, we should have cash on hand in the event of widespread power outages, since ATMs and banks would not be functional, and to keep our cars filled up with gas in case an evacuation order is given.
This notice giving me cause for concern, I checked the latest weather forcast, finding out that the storm had turned into a monster and the forcast track had suddenly taken a drastic turn towards the north, with a well defined eye and winds of about 175 mph. It wasn’t going to strike Florida after all, instead, it was headed in our direction. A sense of dread and anxiety overcame everyone here. When storm was stalled over the Bahamas, and two days later, after the storm drifted towards the north, the first pictures emerged of the terrible devastation the hurricane reaped upon those islands. Whole towns were leveled to the ground. Seventy thousand people were left homeless. This rampage was to make landfall upon the barrier islands of North Carolina in three days, but weather conditions were expected to weaken it by the time it arrived here.
It is always miserable when you lose power to your home. My mother lost power for two days after leaving home and staying with her sister. Laura was anxious about what was about to happen, but ended up sleeping through it most of the time. I told her not to watch the Weather Channel, but she did so anyway, falling asleep in front of it. Our phones sounded the alarm that there was a tornado warning in our area. I slept hardly none at all. As the winds were howling, the power flickered a couple of times, but it never went out.
After the hurricane passed, Laura’s back yard was covered in tree limbs, and when it stops raining and the ground dries out, we will be left cleaning up the mess. We also suspect there is some damage to her roof.