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SEPTEMBER 21, 2022


09/21/22 09:30 AM

I used to watch the hurricane map like a hawk. That's because we lived right on the Gulf of Mexico south of Tallahassee in the city of Crawfordville. As Hurricanes approached, we had to flee our home several times in the four years we lived there.

I don't stay glued to those hurricane maps anymore, but my better half did bring to my attention the fact that we've got a disturbance brewing just above South America and one of the spaghetti models is forecasting it to cross over the area where we used to live. Apparently, the gulf is at a point where it could convert a storm into a severe hurricane.

I didn't know much about things like the dirty side of the storm until we moved down to the area. In fact, it never came up in all the years I remember seeing hurricanes down in Hialeah, Florida as a kid.

Back then, we dealt with Hurricane Cleo in 1964 and Hurricane Betsy in 1965. If I remember correctly, both reached a category 4 in their lifetime and I vividly remember walking out onto the street in front of our house, and into the stillness of the eye, on one of them.

Nothing could have prepared me for the damage and stress that came with Hurricane Michael in October of 2018, only three months after I retired from IBM. And, the part of Michael that produced real devastation in Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach missed us to our west, but hit our friends Troy and Connie pretty hard.

We had to flee that one and had evidence of a nine-foot surge when we returned. We lost stairs up to the house on the third level and everything on the first level was completely obliterated including our elevator and storage room where things like fishing equipment was stored. We were also without electricity for a total of ten days.

We moved to Spanish Fort, Alabama, but decided that wasn't far enough away from the worries of Hurricanes. As a result, we decided after less than a year to head on up to our present location in the northern part of Alabama with the hopes of leaving the hurricanes behind.

Still, I'll never be able to see the reports from those storms as I did some decades ago. I now understand that real lives are being affected. I understand it because I know exactly what it looks and feels like, even if we were spared the ultimate devastation experienced only a few miles away.

Copyright © 2022 Hutch DeLoach

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