Hurricane Ike formed on my birthday, September 13.
My Mom used to get the biggest kick out of tracking tropical depressions and hurricanes. Each hurricane season she would get a new tracking map and mount it on the side of her refrigerator with magnets. Every day (when there was activity in the Atlantic and Gulf) she would update her map, happily following the storm's progression. Sometimes she would call me and give me updates.
Then came Ike. I do believe this was my Mom's first real dealings with the terrible effects of a hurricane. She and my Dad stayed in their little house in Jasper, Texas and some of my siblings and their families stayed with them through the brunt of the storm. My husband and I had just moved back to Texas from California to work for the Advocate in August of 2008.
At one point the hurricane was projected to be heading straight for us but then it veered in a northeasterly direction. Relief soon changed to dismay when I realized it was heading right toward Southeast Texas where most of my family lived.
The hurricane knocked down trees all around my Mom's house and they lost power. Mom told me later that the night Ike rolled in, tornadoes shrieked by and the howling sound of the wind was nerve wracking. The next day they had to deal with heat and humidity and of course, lots of mosquitoes. Luckily my youngest brother had a generator and enough gas to run it. My family was able to run ceiling fans and the washing machine; they hung the clothes on a line to dry. My Dad, who was about 84 at the time, had to go to the emergency room for heat exhaustion.
Anyway, it was a miserable time for them. Mom developed a healthy respect for hurricanes and although she did continue to track them, I think the romance was over for her.
Today there's a tropical storm out in the gulf named Don that appears to be heading our way. We may or may not get rain from this system but one thing is for sure -- I will be vigilantly tracking it and getting updates. I will take all the precautions the experts advise us to take and I will pray that no one gets hurt. I hope you will too.
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