Personal Encounter With Ike

Early yesterday morning northern Arkansas, which is where I live got hit by what was left of Hurrican Ike. As someone who grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, I’ve lived through a few hurricanes in my life,so what hit us early yesterday was no big deal. The storm blew donw some trees and knocked out power for most of the county – we had no power from 5 AM till after 3 PM. We did not get the heavy  rainfall we were expecting nor were the winds as severe as predicted0 I actually slept through the worst of the storm, but it woke my wife up.Compared to a couple of storms that hit Pennsylvan back in the 1960s, this was nothing much.

After we got our power back yesterday afternoon, I went online to read the storm news from Texas. And from much further north.

I lived in Chicago for 23 years before moving to Arkansas at the end of 1991, and that is where I met my wife, so we have friends and family in the Chicago areaI read about the seven inxhes of rain that they got up there and how they were piling sandbags along the Chicago Rever tio hold back the floow water We got so concerned about our friends and family that we got on the phone and started calling them to mke sure they were all safe.Withexception of my best driend, who did not answer the phone, everyone is safe. I am a little concerned about Jeff, but he and his wife do go off on golfing trips regularly, so I am not real worried yet.

We even called my wife’s sister who lives in Michigan. The rain hit there yesterday frin Ike. From talking to her and people in Illinois, it appears they got much more rain as a reult of Iken than we did. Tell me the weather is not getting stranger and stranger!

Other than being without power for much of yesterday, the only danage we incurred  was the wind broke off a large limb from a tree that leans over our house. The limb is cau in a fork in the tree ad did not fall on the house. However, to be on the safe side, I am going to call a professional to take down that tree. I am not sure it would survive one of the ice storms we are so prone ti gettung un the winter. My knees are telling me we may be in for a rough wineter. Havung a hole in the roof in the middle of an ice storm is not a good idea.

I want to comment about one stroy I read about something that happened alon the Gulf Coast near the Texas – Louisiana border. It seems that a large shrimp boat got picked up by the storm surge and deposited on a road FIFTEEN miles from the coast. That in itself would be newsworthy, but the article was about the rescue efforts after the storm passed to get the people who ignored mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind to protect their homes.

Furst if all, what could they realistically do to protect their homes from the fury of a storm 550 miles wide? Second, are their lives and the lives of their families worth less than a house? A house can be replaced, but how do you replace a child or a parent?

Sencd, and this was expressed by the head of a SWAT tean who was out Saturday night and yesterday with a bulldozer rescuibg these idiors. They were trying to get that shrimp boat off the highway with the bulldoser, but gave up because of the dangers from the current of thefloodwater abd because they were having trouble seeing the highway.

The SWAT sergeabt in charge of this rescue team of six saud he felt it was not right and unfair that people like his crew had to leave their own families at home to go out and rescue people who chose to bot evacuate.

I totally agree with him to some degree. Bt leaving them to fend for themselves would be uncharitable and un-Christian.From what I read, these people neekly biarded the buses provided to take them to shelter wuthiyt knowing where they were beung takeb ir when they might be cmoing back. Maybe the next time they face a mandatory evacuation order, they will show some sense and leave.

If you want to read the entire article yourself, click here.


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