The Brief Life of Hurricane Irene
Fallis hurricane season and some years, the season starts a little early. This yearin the last week of August, Hurricane Irene tracked north out of the tropics.It made landfall in North Carolina and continued up the east coast where itturned inland and, dissipating, dumped sufficient rainfall to cause major floodingin the New England states of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Themedia covered the movements of the weather system as though it was an enemyarmy advancing on our homeland. According to the Weather Channel this was to bethe most devastating natural event of all time. Anticipation ran high that aKatrina-like government response was in the offing to the upcoming catastrophe.Officials outdid one another to proclaim the resources they were bringing tothe relief effort.
Thenthe maximum wind speed began to diminish and the meteorological descriptionchanged from a Category 3 Hurricane to a Category 2 and then to a Category 1 Hurricane.The news coverage began to lose its steam. When the carnage didn’t measure upto the hype, the attention focused elsewhere. Hurricane Irene was relegated tothe back pages.
Butto the residents of Hatteras Island on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the stormwas devastating. Route 12, the single strand of highway that connects theisland to the mainland was severed by the raging seas. The ocean carved atleast five inlets through the island to connect with Pamlico Sound. There couldbe no truck or automobile travel on or off the island.
Electricitywas cut off and drinking water was compromised. All water had to be boiled toinsure safety. Homes were flooded and neighborhoods swamped. Emergency rationswere delivered by boats.
Thereis a familiar house on Elizabeth Avenue in Hatteras Village that remainedstanding after the storm. It was built in 1970 by our founder, Mac McClelland,and it is used by many of our employees for their vacations. We trust that withrepairs to the roof and cleanup of the water damage, it will again be a placeof rest and refreshment for our extended One Write family.
Itwill be weeks, maybe months, before the return of some kind of normal lifethere. Yes, the people of Hatteras Island choose to live right up against thevast Atlantic Ocean, and they know their choice has implications. Nevertheless,we watch and pray for their speedy recovery from this one.