Tag Archives: weather

Albany Strong

27 Jan

albany-strong

 

I know, I know.  I’ve been MIA for the past few months.  I’ve got the stereotypical excuse of, “I’ve been busy.”  Lame.

But then something happened here where I live in Albany, Georgia.  On January 2nd my family crouched in the hallway while our home and the homes surrounding us were completely obliterated by a tornado and straight line winds of 95 mph.  I don’t really have the words to describe the sound.  The closest thing I can compare it to was the sound of a huge train slamming on it’s brakes before it began tearing up homes.  No one in our community was prepared for what we saw when the sun rose the next day.  The landscape of our entire neighborhood had been forever altered. 100 year old pine trees were uprooted and thrown through houses and laying across yard and streets.

Tornado of 2017 storm26 storm27 storm30 storm42 storm43 storm50 storm53 storm60 storm71 storm84 storm86 storm90

 

We were shell shocked to learn that it would be several months before we could get back into our home.  For some of our neighbors, it was even worse.  Their houses had to be completely gutted and it’ll be close to a year before they move back home.   But in the midst of this tragedy, something beautiful happened.  My faith in humanity was restored as I watched my community and town come together to help one another in a way that’s indescribable.

That community help continued through sub-zero temperatures while the majority of people had no electricity.  My home still doesn’t have power, and won’t until electrical lines are repaired and rebuilt.  Before the magnitude of our devastation could even register, we learned that there were 3 back-to-back severe storm systems that would be following the same path as before. So on January 22nd, we once again crouched in our safe room, terrified at what the news outlets were predicting.  We heard the tornados tearing up the other side of town.  An hour later, the pictures began to show up.  The damage was so much more than the first round of storms on the 2nd.  Then we started hearing about the casualties and the missing people.  As of today, officials are still searching for a missing 2 year old boy who was separated from his mother during the storm.

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We’ve begun the battle of getting FEMA to help us out.  International Crisis Support Teams took one look at our damage and said it was the worst under-reported storm they’d ever seen.  Dougherty County Commission Chairman, Chris Cohilas, has taken up the torch of responsibility and spear-headed the task of getting state and federal leaders to recognize our situation.  He had this to say:

“This has been called by one of the national charities who have responded as the most under-reported disaster they have ever serviced. It is truly a travesty. News media draws resources and volunteers. We have received some great volunteers, but it is not enough. State resources have been provided (and we are very thankful) but they are inadequate to address our community’s needs. If you have the ability to influence media, and or share this information within your spheres of influence, I would ask that you do so. I serve as the County Commission Chair down here, and I have alot of people who are hurting. It is sad.

Our community has gone to social media and posted photos of the carnage. Those photos have been made publicly available. Search by the hashtags #HelpAlbany. Trust me…you will be blown away. Visit my page Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman and view the damage and the people’s needs.

This disaster struck everyone, poor, rich, black, white, old, and young. It should be noted that we have some of the poorest people in the country that live here as well. The entire community is hurting. The needs are great and changing every day. If you can find a way to help, please do it. If you serve on a charity, please consider steering it our way. If you can steer media coverage down here, do it. If you are in a position to help, please do. We have an Emergency Management Agency which can help coordinate the delivery of those resources. Please call them at 229.483.6226, 6227, or 6228. They will receive your call and gladly coordinate your kindness.”

#AlbanyStrong
#OneAlbany
#OnlyOneAlbany
#OneGeorgia

 

 

Katrina: Ten Years Later

28 Aug

Ten years ago I sat all swollen and pregnant and watched with disbelief while an angry woman named Katrina completely obliterated one of the most sui generis cities in our nation.  Part of my disbelief was that the night before Katrina made landfall, I had a dream.  In that dream there was a flooded city with dead bodies floating in the water.  I woke up and immediately shared the whole disturbing thing with my husband who replied with:

“Hun, you’re pregnant.  You eat dirt and ham.”

Let me first say that this dream was in no way a psychic vision.  I’ve always been a bit of a human barometer, so I think I was subconsciously aware of what the current weather situation was capable of.  Besides, this was America.  We don’t let people die in a storm and float around in diseased infested water.

Days before Katrina made landfall, various weather-casters tried to explain the severity of the impending storm.  Perhaps the most memorable news cast was when Chad Myers (CNN)  flipped out on Carol Costello.  Even before Katrina, I sensed Chad was a bit high-strung.  This was pretty much confirmed when he threw down his papers and started yelling at Carol, “Well if you would let me talk!”

I think his frustration was due to people not taking the weather predictions seriously.  But this is the south.  During hurricane season, there are always warnings and advisories.  We’ve been hearing about the “Big One” for years. So when evacuation orders were given in New Orleans, not everyone heeded the warnings.  But communities are different in coastal Louisiana. More close-knit.  They depend more on each other and less on strangers.  I somewhat understood this.

But when I started seeing people frantically trying to seek shelter in the Louisiana Superdome, I knew this was no ordinary storm.  I watched in disbelief as mothers held babies stripped down to diapers because of the heat, pleading to the news cameras to help them.  I remember saying over and over, “Why aren’t we helping them?!”

Survivors

Cash Smith and his four-year-old son Tahj, of New Orleans, listen to a news conference at Denver International Airport announcing the placement of 18 refugees from Hurricane Katrina, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, in Denver. Smith and his family will stay in Denver at a local hotel. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Mayor Ray Nagin appeared on television, strongly urging residents to find a way out of the city.  And if you stayed behind, Nagin assured, “We will take care of you.”  He also encouraged them to bring their own supplies due to the Superdome being “a refuge of last resort”. Over 20, 000 trusting people made their was to the Superdome, completely unaware that there wasn’t nearly enough water for everyone.  There was no designated medical staff, no sick-bay.  Very few cots were available.  There was no air conditioning and minimal lighting.  Toilets began to over-flow.  Babies and children were seen lying on cardboard, their eyes wide with terror.  Eventually, people became exhausted and hungry.  Fights broke out. Violence escalated.

Convention Center

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A couple of weeks later, I laid on a hospital bed in the hallway of  an overflowing maternity ward due to pregnant and laboring women who had been flown in from New Orleans after they were forced to evacuate the hospitals.  My daughter was born alongside children who had no home to return to.  I watched new mothers who were unable to savor the moment because their minds were too occupied with questions of survival.  I remember thinking to myself, “I will tell my daughter about this.  I will tell her about how sobering it was to see tiny miracles in the midst of tragedy.”

So I kept newspapers and put clippings in her baby book.  All of the pictures in this post were actual screen shots that I took while everything was going on because I knew one day this would be something I would explain to my unborn child.  As another hurricane (Erika) creeps toward us today, I will pull out those clippings.  I will show her these pictures.

And I will remind her of the fragility of life and the indomitable strength of the human soul.

 

 

Southern Storm Catastrophe

30 Jan

Well it snowed.  And if you’ve been watching the news you’d know that Atlanta went and royally screwed up.  Screwed up so hard that Anderson Cooper stopped being gay long enough to make shredding all Atlanta political officials his life’s calling.  The same cannot be said for the town I live in, which is about three hours south of the ATL.  We’re on our second no-school snow day now.  It’s supposed to be 70 degrees in two days.  Yesterday all the neighborhood kids scraped the snow off every yard on the street so they could make one snowball.  Bless their hearts.  But it was my early bird kid who woke up at 5 a.m. and snagged the first bit of snow off the hood of the car.  To make THIS:

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And also THIS:

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I know, I know.  It’s just sad.  But hey!  She’ll be able to tell her grand-kids about this one day!

Southerners + Snow = Ignorance in General

27 Jan

Southerners-reaction-to-snow

 

According to the local and national weather gurus, there’s a strong possibility of snow here in the deep south this week.  My kid is more excited than she was at Christmas.  I told her she’d best not run outside looking like Nanook of the North, rolling around like she was 4 crackers shy of a Ritz sleeve.  I survived the Ohio blizzard of 1978.  THAT was snow.  THAT was something to act stupid about.  But it’s the south so you really can’t blame the kids for being excited.  It’s like watching homeless orphans lining up with the hopes of being adopted.  God help us all if we don’t get at least a flurry.

I swear to you right now there’s a family somewhere in this county counting canned goods in their basement, zipping up their kids’ sweaters and telling them that family prayer is in order because this kind of snow and ice will kill a person.  I know you think I’m joking but I’m not.  Four years ago, three stray snowflakes fell out of the sky and it was straight Armageddon up in here.  Milk hoarding, threats of local looting.  You ever seen 367 kids fighting over three snowflakes?  It’ll scar you for life.

So don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine.  I’ve been hoarding ice-cream salt for three years to prevent the possible humiliation of a slip ‘n fall in front of my neighbors.

How I Got Stupid in Minnesota

23 Jan

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So according to the Weather Channel, it’s darn tootin’ cold up there in Minnesota, eh?  Let me tell you how ignorant I used to be.  (Not that you asked, but I’m going to tell you anyway because I feel bossy today.)  One time…I packed a duffel bag and hopped a plane in Columbus, Ohio…headed towards Chicago…and wound up getting stuck at the Minneapolis International Airport due to inclement weather.  The weather wasn’t ignorant.  What was ignorant was that I only had 62 cents in my pocket; no stupid food and hotel voucher mattered if I couldn’t afford the cab fare to the dang place.  It was around 7pm when I realized my flights…ALL the flights had been cancelled and wouldn’t resume until morning.

At first, it was cool.  Adrenaline pumping…taking smoke breaks outside with some cool hippies who were on their way to meet God via Delta.  There was a soccer team from somewhere in the midwest who let me share their crackers and Cheeze-Whiz.  This was prior to 9/11….so aerosol cans were waved on through.  I think.  Anyway…around 10pm the crowds got thinner and thinner and by 11pm….I was the Lone Ranger.  With my 62 cents.  Which wouldn’t even buy me a crumb because of the over-priced vending machines.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Minneapolis airport…but it’s flippin’ huge.  Especially when it’s completely empty.  I was like Christopher Columbus up in there…exploring, being nosey.  I noticed that the cleaning folks were starting to give me looks that ranged anywhere from curious to frightened.  They finally got fed up with me asking to open the doors so I could smoke…and invited me out through their special cleaning land door.

It was out here on the sidewalk that I became stupid.  Against my will.  You see, the moisture in my eyeballs froze.  No, I mean it FROZE my eyeballs wide open.  I looked perma-startled.  My snot stopped dead in its tracks.  My lungs felt like someone had poured the opposite of anti-freeze down my gullet and all the while, the cleaning people stood huddled together…a safe distance from me…talking smack about me in a non-English dialect.  Hell, it could’ve been English…but by that time, I was too stupid to know.

Long story short…I was stranded in that place for 2 1/2 days.  Write that down.  Two.  And a half.  DAYS.  By the second night, the cleaners had warmed up to me….sort of.  Enough to bring me some tacos wrapped up in aluminum foil and a can of Tab.  Oh yes.  Tab.  I think they were sick of hearing about how I only had 62 cents to my name.

At any rate….I high-tailed it out of there.  But know this.  I haven’t been right since.  Not completely.  I’ve dimmed a little.  Like if you ask me, “Quick!  What’s 6 times 7?”  I’ll have to stand there for a minute and figure out what 6 times 5 is first…because I’m familiar with that….then count up from there.  So we’re looking at…oh, I dunno…a good 35 second pause.  See?  Dim.  This wasn’t so before Stupid Town.

I don’t really know how to end this stupid story…other than to say on occasion…I miss being young and stupid with only 62 cents in my pockets and no fear.  Maybe I would’ve stayed cool…had it not been for those two days in Stupid Town.

Todd Akin: Poster Boy for Stoopid

22 Aug

So I had a virus attack my computer a few days ago.  It was like Todd Akin done went and climbed into my computer.  I’m trying to decide what to say here.  “Stupid” doesn’t really capture the full moronic picture of Todd Akin.  I don’t know why we’re so surprised that this fool implied some rapes are legitimate.  Have you seen him?  No?  Well take a gander.  I’ll wait.

Have you ever had a severe bout of insomnia and flipped on the TV in the wee hours of the morning?  Chances are you saw some maniacal right wing evangelical soul blighter condemning all early morning TV watchers to the pit of fire and brimstone for all of eternity.  Todd Akin reminds me of one of these guys.  Especially after his comment about God calling him to say what he said and that he’s gonna stick to his guns and keep on running  the course and fighting the good fight.

Okay, if Karl Rove….KARL ROVE!…said you are a shameful piece of doo-doo…..then you are, in fact, a shameless piece of doo-doo.  But riddle me this:  Is the GOP trying to get rid of Todd Akin because they actually disagree with his comments?  Or are they merely concerned with beating Obama in November….at all costs?  It’s a mystery to be sure.

If I were of the same religious persuasion as Todd Akin….I’d say something about it being God’s will that a hurricane is fixin’ to smash head-on into the Republican National Convention.

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