Stormy Weather

24 Aug

ETA:  It has now been raining solid since about 1AM.  What’s left of Fay has changed direction, yet again, and is coming back over us.  No real threat, just a LOT of rain.  After three days, I feel waterlogged.

Well, after anticipating up to 10 inches of rain from Tropical Storm/Depression Fay, I’m happy to report that Mobile encountered a few stiff breezes and a few sprinkles, but nothing of the proportions that our neighbors in Florida experienced.  Matter of fact, Fay is reported basically on top of us at this hour and the sun is shining brightly outside with the air as still as a statue.

We are no strangers to “storms”, as they are referred to along the Gulf Coast.  I was a scant nine days old and just home from the hospital in 1964, when Hurricane Hilda came ashore just 35 miles south of where we lived.  My father walked the fields in between our house and “the shop” at our family nursery farm every four hours to use a gas generator that could heat a hot plate and my formula.  Before I was a year old, we took another direct hit from Hurricane Betsy, which would claim 58 lives.

In 1969, a 21 year old Mr. D, hisself, rode out the notorious Hurricane Camille in Pass Christian, Mississippi, just 200 yards off the beach.  Miraculously, both he and his 68 year old grandfather survived to tell the tale of the worst “storm” of the 20th Century.  With winds of 200 mph, Camille claimed a total of 172 lives, 78 in the sleepy little fishing village of Pass Christian.  To this day, Mr. D solemnly tells stories of the indelible devastation and loss of Camille like it was yesterday, rather than nearly 40 years ago.

Hurricane Camille

The years after the tumultous ’60s provided a respite from significant “storms” with the exception of a noted few, like Frederic in ’79 and Andrew in ’92.  Mini-DD was 11 months old and was just starting to walk when Hurricane Andrew barreled through Florida, out into the Gulf of Mexico and made a second landfall in Mr. D’s hometown of New Iberia, LA.  We were living in Baton Rouge at the time and the worst of Andrew, for us, was the NINE days without electricity and therefore, air conditioning…in August…in Louisiana.

When we moved to Memphis, TN, the hurricane gods were dormant and “storms” along the coast were virtually non-existent.  In 2002, we moved to Mobile, and had only a few mild tropical storms until Hurricane Ivan came ashore just 45 miles southeast of us in Gulf Shores, AL in 2004, packing 120 mph winds.  Just a year later, Hurricane Katrina threatened Mobile Bay, but jogged west at the last minute to spare the city from a direct hit.  However, being on the “right” side is the wrong side, so Katrina’s “whip” provided quite a punch with incredible storm surges into the river basins and bays that dot the Mobile area.

Downtown Mobile during Katrina

“Storms” are a fact of life on the Gulf Coast.  June to November are months of anxious apprehension with one eye on The Weather Channel and the other on sale papers for Lowe’s and Home Depot for batteries, lanterns and portable A/C units.  There are “Goers” and “Stayers”.  Goers generally head for the hills (literally) when even the faintest of winds begin to blow.  Stayers batten down the hatches and hunker down, determined to “weather” whatever the storm may bring…plus, they can’t do 9-10 hours in a car on the Interstate with kids, pets, and no bathroom.  We are steadfastedly in the Stayers camp.  As we live on high ground and the primarily killer in storms is flood waters and the fact that Mr. D has survived three category 5 storms in his six decades, we choose to ride it out and take our chances.  We simply load up on ice, gas, beer & wine, and plenty of batteries to power up the weather reports.  For good measure, we burn a little of the Palm Sunday palm cross that I keep by the kitchen sink for added protection.  And, of course we always have good tunes to help pass the anxious waiting.

So, with that in mind, here is the authentic Music Maven Hurricane Playlist:

Story Weather – Etta James

Hurricane Party – Cowboy Mouth

Wayward Wind – Patsy Cline

It Feels Like Rain – Aaron Neville

Against The Wind – Bob Seger

Shelter From the Storm – Bob Dylan

Tryin’ to Reason with Hurricane Season – Jimmy Buffett

Bring on the Rain – Jo Dee Messina

Lightning Strikes – Lou Christie

Like a Hurricane – Neil Young

Come Rain or Come Shine – Frank Sinatra

Too Much Rain – Paul McCartney

I Think It’s Going To Rain Today – Dusty Springfield

Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions

Who’ll Stop the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon

It’s Raining Again – Supertramp

Stormy Monday – Bobby “Blue” Bland

When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin

Rain Song – Mosquitos

Storms – Fleetwood Mac




Posted by on August 24, 2008 in that's life


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5 responses to “Stormy Weather

  1. shrewspeaks

    August 24, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I am glad the brunt of the storm passed you by. You all have been in my thoughts!

    On a happier note…great play list!

  2. little Deb

    August 25, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Hey there MM. Being a 25 year south Florida resident, I remember a few of those hurricanes. Andrew was the worst in recent memory. The extreme south was just demolished. Homestead Air Force Base, which was an SAC (strategic air command base) was extremely fortified and after Andrew, it was just gone. Nothing left. It was heading directly for Ft. Lauderdale, where I lived, and made a last minute turn to the south. My Uncle Albie lived in a trailer in the area. His home was basically blown away and the entire trailer park was gone. I found some pictures of the Andrew devastation close to where he lived.

    Since I’m no longer a Floridian, I don’t remember the name of the storm, but he lives west of Ft. Lauderdale now and the hurricane that recently came through there totally destroyed his second trailer. He stayed home and hid under his kitchen table and the whole trailer collapsed on top of him. Amazingly, he was okay. In one of the better FEMA stories, they provided him with a new trailer and $15,000 which he was able to use to purchase the trailer.

    But, as I’ve said before, I still would rather live in the south than up here in the nasty cold north.

    Here’s a few you didn’t include on your list.

    Phil Collins – I Wish It Would Rain.

    Bob Dylan – Hurricane

    Not about a hurricane, but a true story and I love this song.

    Gordon Lightfoot – Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    And I’ll finish with a personal experience. It was in January probably 15+ years ago. We had a good friend (Tom) who was a captain and lived on a 37′ sailboat. My husband and I flew over to Bimini to spend a few days on the boat. His elderly parents were on board also. We were heading back to Ft. Lauderdale on a Sunday (which happened to be SuperBowl Sunday). Tom knew that a storm was approaching, but according to the forecast, we should have been able to outrun it. He was a former Coast Guard captain, so his knowledge and abilities were excellent. Anyway, we got out into the gulfstream and the storm hit. I know it sounds hard to believe, but we heard on the news after the fact that we were in 60 knot winds and had 30 foot seas. It was raining hard and the waves were crashing over the top of the boat. In the middle of it all, the steering cable broke, so Tom had no way to steer and we were at the mercy of the storm. My husband went down below and ripped out the bed and cabinets in the master salon to get to the manual rudder. We duct taped a compass to the floor and he steered that way for a while. Then, the spreader on the mast snapped and we were afraid the whole mast would go. Then the dinghy that was tied down on the bow of the boat came loose and was swinging back and forth banging the hull attached by one thin rope. My husband had to go up on the bow and secure the damn thing. Several times, I thought he was going overboard. Tom radioed the Coast Guard to give them our approximate position and they were basically on standby because it was too rough for them to conduct a search. Miraculously, we made it all the way back to Ft. Lauderdale. A trip that should have taken a maximum of 4 hours, took 12 hours. I’m still amazed that we made it through that and are still here to tell the story. Tom’s boat was pretty much destroyed, but he spent the next two years getting it back together. My husband and I joined him on a two week cruise on the boat sailing through the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas. NOTHING will ever keep me from enjoying the beautiful ocean in the Caribbean.

    I’ll end with the song we would play every night on the boat as we sipped our Goombay Smashes and watched the sunset.

    Leon Russell – (I hope you understand I just had to go) Back to the Island. Listen to the sound of the ocean at the beginning and end. If I close my eyes, I’m there…………………….

  3. shrewspeaks

    August 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Well…just to bring you back to dryer times…when the bubbly flowed and so did the music

    click to see

  4. kanniduba

    August 25, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    “We load up on ice, gas, batteries, beer, and wine,” she says. LOL
    MM…you crack me up! I like your style…no “bottled water and first aid essentials” in your preparedness kit! I wanna come wait out the “storm” at your house!

    I have to say though, I’m quite content being a northerner…I can deal with the cold winters and snow…even blizzards. The hurricanes and tornadoes, let alone the earthquakes that other parts of the nation are plagued with would make me crazier than I already am. More concerning than blizzards, we live in fear of ice storms around here…that’s when our eye is on The Weather Channel. In 1998, my husband’s two siblings lived through the Ice Storm…three to four inches of ice accumulated over an 80 hour period, leaving flooding and devastation. My brother-in-law lived without power for 26 days. It missed us, thankfully, but every winter we wonder, “Is this the year we should be purchasing that generator?”
    So glad to hear the worst of Fay missed you MM…was thinking of you.

  5. JenAdams

    August 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Glad it’s only rain. Here are some more rain tunes for you:

    Blame it on the Rain (Red Sox video version, to remind you of your New England travels)

    Here Comes The Rain Again (gotta get my girl Annie in there.)


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