Since 2006, I have been through a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Hawaii, crazy wildfires in San Diego County, a volcanic eruption in the Galapagos Islands, a category 2 hurricane in Texas, and two tsunamis in Hawaii. That’s pretty exciting stuff for a geography geek.
Hurricane Dolly made landfall on South Padre Island, Texas while I was visiting home during summer break 2008.
When a voluntary evacuation was issued, we didn’t even consider it. My immediate family members are just as stoked about storms as I am. A lot of us are back in Texas. For one, it’s usually the only chance for decent surf in the summer. And two, none of us want to go through life knowing we missed out on a hurricane party. I still get a little jealous whenever a hurricane hits and I’m away.
The excitement in the air right before a hurricane is unlike any other. Everyone is wondering how much damage she’ll do and how long we’ll be without power. We’re worried about whether we’ve boarded up our homes well enough and whether we got enough sandbags. We’re mostly concerned about whether we have enough beer stocked up until the stores open up again.
The way the sky looked over our little island set the scene perfectly. A huge wall of clouds could be seen at the horizon. The sky was every shade of purple and pink and orange and red: the calm before the storm.
I stayed home with my dad, stepmom, and little brother, DJ. Into the evening, the wind gradually picked up and proceeded to howl fiercely all night long. Here’s what it sounded like:
Still, we managed to get some sleep.
We awoke without power and the storm still battering us. We enjoyed the view from our lanai. I was in the middle of 4 online summer classes from UH (and we were only supposed to be allowed to take 2 at a time). Nobody in Hawaii was concerned about hurricanes, but there I was trying to complete my day’s assignments despite all the commotion. My dad hooked up the laptop to his truck’s power so that I could do work.
When it started to ease up a bit my little brother asked me if I wanted to go for a drive. Ummm… yes! We hopped into his truck and drove around the island to assess the damage…
There wasn’t as much damage on the island as there was on the mainland right across the bridge. The hurricane cost Texans $1 billion, but thankfully no lives were lost. (Not in Texas… one person died from the rip tides in Florida and two people died when the remnants hit New Mexico.)
I stuck around the island for about two days after the storm. The July heat and standing water had turned it into a sauna. It was SO hot and humid and nobody had power or air conditioning. When I had enough of it, I drove up to Austin and stayed with some friends. I’m glad I did, because we were able to catch an Aesop Rock show the night I rolled in: