Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurricane Irene - The Journey

      Well I knew the hurricane was coming, but had no idea it would cause as much damage.  We lost power about 1:30 am Saturday.  I woke up about 7:30 Saturday when Irene started to make landfall at Cape Lookout.  After being awake for 20 minutes I went outside to assess the damage.  No shingles were missing, so I was relieved, until I see the big oak tree that fell across my power lines and driveway.  I knew then that I would be without power for a long time.  I went in the house and tried to relax and ride the storm out.  Immediately my phone rang.  One call after another.  Everyone calling to see if we were ok, had any damage, but mostly to see if we had any power.  I must of talked to at least 10 people within an hour.  We had prepared for the storm a little, but I knew Irene was supposed to make landfall around 8:00 am.  I was sure we would have power, at least long enough to get up and cook breakfast.  Boy was I wrong.  I started telling my pregnant wife about when hurricanes come with the high and low pressure, it sometimes send women into labor.  Finally I talked to my dad and he said he had power.  I started to make plans to go to his house.  As I was on the phone with him, I looked out the window and another tree fell blocking my neighbor's driveway.  This was my exit strategy.  I said to him, "I guess we aren't coming now".  At this point I am frustrated, and so are my wife and kids.  Tensions were running high, everyone was getting on everyone else's nerves.  This is when I caved in on the quitting smoking.  I figured it would be best for everyone if I could just calm down, instead of being on edge.  About 2 hours past and I finally saw my neighbor drive through his yard and get out to the main road.  I told my wife to pack some clothes, "we are getting out of here".  I packed up the car in the storm and got everyone loaded in.  We drove about a 2 miles and the road was completely covered in water.  I turned around and went an alternative route.  I made it about 2 miles and the road was blocked by a couple big trees.  I turned around and went another alternative route.  I made it about 3 miles and it was blocked with a couple huge pine trees.  I knew of one other road to try, made it about 2 miles and it was blocked with trees down.  At this point my wife is starting to panic,  she said "the ambulance won't even be able to come get me cause all the roads are blocked".   I told her "well I guess I'm gonna deliver this one at home", she did not find my comment very amusing.  I drove back to the water.  I sat and watched 3 or 4 trucks drive through and I figured this was the only way out, I have to try.  We made it through, only to find a river flowing across the road less than a mile further.  I pulled off to the side for about 20 minutes, watching trucks and suv's cross, but I wanted to see a car go across.  Finally a car did come and it did make it.  The water seemed to be about 2 feet deep.  It was now or never.  The water was getting deeper by the minute.  I don't want to deliver this baby at home.  I asked my wife what she thought, and she said do what ever I think is best. I forged through the river and we made it.  Drove about 4 miles and once again, there was a river flowing across the road.  I was already in the mindset that, we are getting the hell outta here, and keep in mind this is during the brunt of the hurricane.  I just crossed it and finally made it to the highway.  We drove to my dad's house and were finally safe with power, and close to the hospital in case she did go into labor.  In retrospect I am glad we left, but I wish we would have just went Friday night.  Either way it was one hell of a journey.

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