I happened to look back to 2005 when I wrote in my journal last night and realized that 6 years ago, while we were living in Mobile, AL, we were preparing for Katrina during these last days of August. Here's the sequence....
Wednesday, August 24: After several quiet weeks, another tropical storm has blown up - Katrina, SE of Miami. Let the fun begin.
Thursday, August 25: Katrina strengthened to a hurricane & hit Miami this evening. It's due along the Fla. panhandle by Monday. Hopefully it will miss us. .... I can't sleep.
Friday, August 26: Katrina up to Cat. 2, but still moving WSW; we're east of the central line of the cone.
Saturday, August 27: The entire day revolved around waiting to see what Katrina would do. I planted a few plants, brought in some unneeded items from the yard, got Annie's [our faithful, old German Shepherd, who was failing badly at this time] med refills, bought dog food...and watched TV. It looks like she's turning NW at last - New Orleans is the current target.
Sunday, August 28: Up by 6 a.m. to get ready for Katrina. She's strengthened to a Cat. 4 with 175 mph winds headed straight for New Orleans. Emptied the yard, put up plywood, emptied the frig. Left about 2:20 p.m. and took Hwy. 45 up into Tennessee, then 412 & on into Sean's. Got in about 2:30 a.m. with all animals. [Sean lived just east of St. Louis at this point, but was in DC for TDY with work. We caravanned, Greg driving the truck with the 2 (outside) hunting dogs in the back, me driving the Camry with Annie, Shiner (our old English setter house dog) and the 2 cats in the back. Greg had to leave as soon as Katrina was out of the Mobile area to get back to his duty station with the Coast Guard. The temperatures were in the upper 90's, with high humidity, during the day.]
Monday, August 29: Shiner woke me early & the day was filled with worry about the dogs and worry about the house. Early reports (8:30 a.m.) said the storm had dumped 36" of rain in Mobile already, so I was sure the house had flooded. Mobile was majorly hit (the eye went in about Biloxi/Gulfport) - 10' surge flooding downtown, multiple tornadoes, the rain & major wind. This evening we talked to [a friend who lived a street over] & he kindly checked out the house - said we'd lost major parts of the live oak out front & one of the big red oaks out back, as well as some shingles, but overall came out okay. ... I'm exhausted. And it's time to have Annie put to sleep; her hind legs are almost totally gone now.
Tuesday, August 30: After some frantic discussion, we decided that Greg should head back alone with Lefty & Misty [the outside dogs]. I spent the day trying to figure out the safest routes for him, reading papers, and talking to [family] on the phone. The water has continued to rise in New Orleans & now the entire city is basically flooded. Biloxi & Gulfport suffered devastating losses & rearrangements. The Coast Guards' been doing nonstop rescues. Greg's truck broke down 25 miles south of Birmingham about 5:30 p.m. AAA came abt. 2 hours later & towed him to Montgomery. He's in a hotel tonight.
Wednesday, August 31: ... Greg got the truck fixed and was on the road by 11 a.m. He got into Mobile abt. 2 p.m. & home by 2:45 or so. A section of fence was down; otherwise yard was as described. ... Increased looting in New Orleans. Greg was relieved to finally get to work.
Thursday, September 1: [The "check engine" light had come on in my car on the drive up from Mobile, so I spent the morning having the repair shop figure out what was wrong. The catalytic converter was shot. I wasn't sure whether to stay at Sean's - who was in D.C. - or go on to Wichita to my folks', or go back to Mobile.] ... No electricity yet at home. Some stations are running out of gas. This feels like a nightmarish alternative universe.
Friday, September 2: Well, I'm finally down to quiet days. ... Have decided to stay here to save gas. .... [Greg was basically working & living at the CG base from this point on for many days, just going home to check on the dogs.]
Saturday, September 3: [Quiet day alone for me.] Electricity on at home.
Sunday, September 4: [Quiet day alone for me.] Annie's hips are getting worse again.
Monday, September 5: Sean got home a little after 10 p.m. - tired but it's great to see him. [I had finally been able to talk with one of my good friends from Mobile that day, to see how others had fared with the storm.]
I stayed for a couple more days at Sean's. He was gone at work from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the day, but we got to visit in the evenings. On Thursday of that week, I drove to Topeka/Holton, dropped the animals off at a kennel, and attended the wedding of Sean's best friend, Nathan and his wife Laura, that weekend in Lawrence. Greg flew in to Kansas City on Friday night. Sean and Jess came in for the wedding, too. Greg and I stayed around the Holton area on Sunday to socialize, then we drove back to Sean's on Monday and on to Mobile on Tuesday, getting home around 6 p.m. My only comment upon getting home was, "House & yard as described." We spent the next several days cleaning up the yard, taking down the plywood, cleaning out the frig, having the air conditioners repaired (and then replaced because they couldn't be properly repaired). Five days later we had to have Annie, our sweet German Shepherd, put to sleep.
Ironically, the day we got back to Mobile after Katrina was the same day that, the year before (2004), it was obvious that Ivan was headed our way. We stayed in Mobile for Ivan - which we decided, in retrospect, was really stupid, after spending a LONG night sheltering in a small bathroom and under the dining room table as the winds seemed to be trying to blow our home apart. Even if it seemed cowardly, we decided that, in the future, we would evacuate for hurricanes.
My heart goes out to any who find themselves in for a much worse storm than they expected with Irene. I hope that, whatever property may be damaged, the people are able to keep themselves safe.