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It’s Bad. Catastrophic

Like millions of Americans, I’ve been glued to my TV, tuned in to The Weather Channel.

I thought that leaving would be the easy part.

I was wrong.

I never went to sleep after I got to my hotel; my heart was troubled as I waited to see how things would turn out.

All I can say is WOW.

Maybe it was a tad naive to hope that the storm wouldn’t do much damage.  Have you ever seen the weather that precedes a hurricane?  It’s divine.

Then came the hours after the eye wall passed over my little city.

That’s when people started posting pictures of scenes from my neighborhood, down at the beach, and other adjoining waterfront towns.

The devastation left behind Hurricane Michael has been shocking.

I’ve been looking at pictures from the streets I regular jog down, and I am stunned.

I’d be willing to bet that eight out of every ten of the oak trees in my subdivision came down.

I finally got a hold of the neighbor I share a fence with, and she sent me a picture she had taken from inside her house.

Her screened in porch is gone, as is the fence we share(d) (the left side of the photo) and the fence behind my house (behind the pine tree).

She told me that the oak in front of her house had split in two and had come down on her house, although it was mostly on the ground, so it didn’t go through the roof.

I read that the entrance to my neighborhood is blocked by downed trees and power lines.

Another friend posted these photos of her house (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing).

She was closer to the water.  She happens to be much braver than me.

I had always seen these stories on the news . . . storms that hit places that seemed somewhat remote.

I never imagined that such things could happen in my own backyard.

I am in shock.  I had absolutely no time to prepare myself mentally even though I’ve sat through quite a few storms.  I barely had time to leave.

I’ve been watching the news footage and looking at places I drive by every single day, and the damage is extensive.

Two high schools sustained a lot of damage.  One of our middle schools has been decimated – its gymnasium hollowed out.

Our historic downtown area has been ravished.

The beach fared a little better because it was on the west side of the storm, but I can only imagine what the coastal homes look like at the moment.

I heard from the Mr. around noon yesterday:  “It’s bad.  Catastrophic.”

Then, I didn’t hear from him for eight more hours.

That was in the middle of the storm.

I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I’ve got to admit that I didn’t do so well during those eight hours.  I called his personal and work cell phones several times each hour.

I knew, in my heart, that he was okay, but I needed to hear his voice.

I sent a message to my students halfway into the storm and then again afterward to check on them.  Many, many of them lost roofs.  One has a car that looks like a pancake.  Another told me that she “used” to have woods behind her house.  Another girl was already asking me what we were going to do about grades.  Bless her heart.  My kids are traumatized.  They thrive on routine.  This isn’t sitting well with them.

I finally heard from the Mr. around 8pm, and I cried.  He’d borrowed someone’s phone since cell phone service is spotty.  He told me that personnel can’t even communicate with each other because of that.

He told me that our city looks like a war zone and encouraged me to stay put until at least Friday or he gives me the green light sooner.  Part of me wants to get home, but now that I’m hearing about the infrastructure and safety concerns, I’m not so sure.

This feels like the worst kind of nightmare.  I know I can speak for others when I say that it’s a blessing to be alive, but we are completely overwhelmed by the enormity of what we are facing.  Hearing about the mandatory water boil notices and night curfew is scary.  It seems like something from TV, but it’s not.

I remember years ago, after Hurricane Katrina had passed through, when I drove along the interstate and saw the bent over road signs.  The evidence of the power of nature was jaw-dropping.  It took years to clean all of that up.

Sigh.

Thankfully, God is bigger than the storm and able to do more than human hands.  I continue to trust in His mercy and provision over the next days, weeks, and months.

How can you help?

Please continue to pray.

Our law enforcement officials and EMS workers need our prayers – for physical and emotional sustenance.  The Mr. is drained already.  He’s had little sleep and maybe one change of clothes.

Please pray for safety for those working to restore power.  The job they do is dangerous, especially with the standing water everywhere.

Please pray that the citizenry will exhibit some common sense and leave things that don’t belong to them in the homes of their rightful owners.

Please pray for our education system.  At this moment, we officially don’t have school on Thursday.  I can’t see how they won’t extend that further given the number of educators and students who are either out of town, unable to return, or without power.  Heck, the schools don’t even have power.  With several schools out of use, it’s a bit of a cluster.

Please pray for our government leaders as they seek to make wise decisions.

Thank you so much.

4 Responses

  1. When I read your post yesterday about leaving, I sat at my desk and cried and I am not a crier. You’ve been on my heart and in my prayers. Our friend’s parents are lifetime residents of the gulf coast and they are in their 90’s. They rode out the storm under a stairwell and their windows are all gone and their doors were in the bay but they are safe. So glad your hubby is safe.

  2. I just cant even imagine what it feels like to go through something like that. I know you hate being away but I’m soooo glad you left & was in a room with your fur babies safe. I just wish your hubby was with you – but so grateful that he’s looking out for others.

  3. How truly awful. I’m glad you got away and will pray for strength and fortitude as you go back home. I’m glad your husband is safe and is there to let you know when you can return. I will be praying for all the many personnel involved in clean up, rescue, health care, law enforcement and rebuild. Take care xo

  4. Good to know the Mr is safe. I’m glad you decided to get out while you still could. Will be praying for you.

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