Monday, June 9, 2008

Natural Disaster, Southern Style

Natural disasters can strike any place. Here on the Georgia coast we are prone to hurricane warnings, though we recently had a close call with a very strong band of tornadoes.

The most memorable hurricane in my lifetime was Hurricane Dora. It came through here in September 1964, when I was a kid. I remember the wind being so strong that I had to hold onto my father's hand to stand. Even then we had to lean into the wind. I forgot once and my feet went out from under me, hoisting me in the air like a small kid kite. Fortunately, my Dad had a tight grip on my hand and the good sense to put me back in the Rambler.

Dora came ashore in Jacksonville to the south of us, which meant we felt the brunt of the counterclockwise winds as they struck the Georgia coast. Big branches snapped from the hundred year old live oaks. Loosened beards of Spanish moss and palm branches sailed past us, tumbling through the sky. Rain fell sideways in the gusting winds. Instead of our normal 6 to 8 foot tides, high tide was 12 feet during the storm, causing massive flooding.
Besides being unable to stand by myself, I also have a few other key memories of this disaster. We evacuated from our fishing village to the nearest small town, Darien, all of ten miles up the coastal highway. (These days evacuees are sent several hundred miles inland. )My family stayed at a travel court in town, and super balls were all the rage. We kids had one we played with until our parents took it away.
After the storm, I remember going home to find our house full of fiddler crabs who had also evacuated their homes in the flooded marsh. What fun! My brother and I raced around with the kitchen pots to see who could catch the most.
Disasters come and go. We were lucky with Dora. We've been hurricane free since then. Let's hope the trend continues.
Coming soon - IN FOR A PENNY
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