Monday, August 29, 2011

After the storm

I've had too much coffee, too much sleep, and never enough food. I'm shaking, my heart feels like it's trying to escape via my throat and all I'm doing is dancing in place to keep everything in check.

Irene came and went quite peacefully in my part of North Carolina. The wind blew in circles and pissed the trees off that hang over my balcony. The night of the hurricane was quite amazing for me... I sat on my balcony for most of the night having very good conversation with very good company. Needless to say that while I was having the most amazing night of my life my family was being pummeled by mother nature as Irene tossed trees around like an angry toddler.

Cell phone service cut out. Power was lost. Even internet shut off. Trees falling around my parent's house, my grandmother's house and my sister's house. The wind blew sideways and the rain flew around like angry darts. "This has been the worst hurricane I've ever experienced" said my mother, who has never strayed too far from her mother's house about 2 miles down. I missed it. Thankfully, but regrettably as well. My grandmother banked on the idea of some undesirables spending time with her through the hurricane... of course they flaked. As trees lay inches away from the house, my uncle and cousin rescued her and brought her to my mother's house so she wouldn't have to spend the rest of the hurricane alone. Thankfully no one was hurt in this effort.

I've seen pictures of my favorite park in my hometown under more than 13ft of a swollen Neuse River and rain. Facebook feeds filled with "Evacuating west, pray for my family" and pictures of fallen trees over the road, squished cars and large bodies of water that aren't meant to be. Disaster, devastation... stories of people swimming to the post office begging for rides to safety...

I come from a town that thrives in hurricanes because it's the most excitement all year... but after Katrina something changed. I was actually dating someone during Katrina and they lived farther inlet than I. Their entire house was flooded, lifting the house off the of its foundation, floating a couple inches above the concrete structure... then slammed the house down, cracking both structures in half. It felt like I was walking through a movie scene. Soggy carpets, we tried for 3hrs to get to that house, so many flooded roads we couldn't get through... passing people on canoes, paddling away, on or in the road. Katrina was one of the worse storms I've experienced and my mother said Katrina was just childs play compared to Irene. Now, when a hurricane comes people evacuate like they're told, buy out Food Lion and get their radios ready.

My middle school and high school have been flooded. My middle school has been flooded before, 6ft during Katrina, I can only image how deep Irene took it swimming. I've had to stop looking for information on the angry left overs of Irene. It makes me cry. I see pictures of places I've frequented for most of my 24yrs totally under water, covered in trees or otherwise disrupted. The local Harris Teeters are giving away ice and water while their stores are closed. If you have twitter, visit the hastag #NCIrene for personal accounts, to-the-second updates, pictures and other things that have made me cry in the last 24hrs. There are also facebook groups you can be a part of for more information about how to get help or just to share your stories of survival.

What most people aren't realizing is how bad the bugs are. That's something the news doesn't really touch on. They talk about the clean up, they show these terrible pictures... but they don't show how nasty and thick the bugs are right now. My entire childhood neighborhood and surrounding areas are, quite literally, a temporary marshland right now. It's perfect for mosquitoes and other nasties. The CDC has a page of information about how you should go about protecting yourself after a natural disaster and what to notice with certain bites.

Don't be afraid to ask for help... everyone needs it right now. Also, don't be afraid TO help. Being there for each other is what community is all about.

Please click the links, I hope they prove to be helpful in some way!


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