Friday morning arrived only too soon. As I walked outside that morning, I marveled at the beauty of the day. The sun was out, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it was a perfect 75 degrees or so with little humidity. Typically, we would have seen 90 degree temperatures and about 90% humidity in late September. It was like a morning in March instead. Many of the news stories in the past few days were comparing Hurricane Rita to the hurricane that devastated Galveston in 1900. The media was heralding the 105th anniversary of that hurricane, and noted Hurricane Rita might prove to be as deadly as the one that hit Galveston 105 years ago. I became quite thankful for Doppler radar and all the other equipment and instruments that we have at our disposal today for hurricane forecasting. If the day that the 1900 Galveston hurricane hit was as beautiful as the day Hurricane Rita was slated to arrive, the people of Galveston wouldn’t have had a clue. They were probably just thankful and thought themselves lucky to be alive on such a gloriously beautiful day, while completely unaware of the storm brewing just a few hours off the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, in 2005, we knew better.
We then finalized the plans as to how we were riding out the hurricane. Originally, because my mom has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), or more commonly known as emphysema, the plan was for me to take her to her brother’s home in Delhi, LA, about a 200 mile trip from Jasper. There she would maintain access to electricity, which she needs to run her breathing machine and to take her breathing treatments. However, based on our "evacuation from hell" trip the day before, I was pretty confident that if I tried to get her to Delhi, the hurricane would have hit Jasper, done its damage, and the area would have had time to rebuild before I could have made it to Delhi. So, we went to Plan B.
Plan B included my mom staying at my cousin’s house, and my sister, niece, Eric and I were going to be volunteers at the Emergency Management Shelter at Community Church, www.communitychurchjasper.org in town. There were no plans to set up a shelter for evacuees in town — the EOC team wanted to ensure that everyone left. The folks that we were housing were the firemen, emergency management team, the Coast Guard, and any other emergency management personnel that showed up to help out. It pays to have relatives in high places..LOL
Earlier in the week my brother had scored a generator that was going to follow my mom where ever she ended up so that she could continue her breathing treatments. The final destination seemed to be at my cousin Steve’s house in the Beech Grove community where I grew up. His parents, my aunt and uncle, who live across the cow pasture from Steve and from my mom’s house, would also hunker down there during the height of the hurricane. So, Jennifer (my sister-in-law) and I set out early Friday morning to deliver the generator to Steve’s house, and with Steve and Ronnie McBride’s help (Jasper County sheriff–it’s nice to have the county sheriff living next door to you <g>), got the generator unloaded and they began to unpack it and hook it up.
We finished our packing and securing my brother’s house, and off we went to our assigned destinations.
Note–All the photos in the hurricane section of this blog are courtesy of KJAS Radio, www.kjas.com in Jasper. While I didn’t take them, I’m using them to illustrate the kinds of things I saw during Hurricane Rita.
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