Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oak Island - after hurricane Hanna

I have always been sort of intrigued by hurricanes. As Hanna was getting closer I was kind of excited in a strange way. We all sort of barely dozed as we waited for the storm to come in (it was supposed to make landfall sometime in the early morning). At 2:21 Jen was the first of the two of us to wake up. It is hard to express the sounds generated from winds 65-70mph. Jen and I laid awake in bed listening to the storm and the house creaking. It is important to know that the house we were in was on stilts that raised the first floor about 12 feet over the ground. At one point somewhere between 3-4am Jen went to the bathroom. While she was gone I laid in bed and realized that the whole bed was moving. We knew this house was only a couple years old and was built to the current hurricane standards. This was hardly a comfort when the whole thing was moving!!! We slept in short spurts and not very well for the next hour or two. There was an absolutely horrific banging on the side of the house right by the head of our bed. Of course this is also the time that the batteries in out monitor decided to run out of juice. Since there was no way we were going to hear Ryan if he woke up, we decided to venture upstairs to get fresh batteries and see how the rest of the family was fairing. The movement of the house was even more disturbing on the second floor. We managed to survive the storm, and Ryan never made so much as a peep. The next morning I sort of expected to see things like I have seen in pictures of so many other hurricanes (debris and destruction). It is safe to say that these folks in that stretch of the North Carolina beach area know what they are doing when it comes to building hurricane safe houses. There was little to no debris anywhere that we could see. There were not even the expected shingles laying everywhere. In fact, I couldn't see any missing shingles on any of the houses around us. The scariest part of a hurricane is how long they last. I have been in plenty of really intense thunderstorms in Kansas but even the worst of those is over in an hour or two. Hanna was just a tropical storm when it made landfall. To be classified a hurricane it must have sustained wind speeds of 74mph. This storm was just under that. My curiosity has been satisfied. I don't need to witness another one.

The following video and pictures were taken the morning after Hanna departed. The sound isn't too good but you can certainly tell how angry the ocean is.

As fascinating as the surf was, I was not willing to go in any further than this picture. Notice how windy it still was.

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