Hurricane Irene

The first time I experienced a hurricane I was about five years old. We were living in a pink headmaster’s house in Cockburn Town, San Salvador, Bahamas. I can vividly remember the neighbors boarding their windows in preparation for the hurricane. When Hurricane Lili struck the island she came in full force, I now know it was because the eye of the storm passed over Southwestern cluster of islands that make up the Bahamas. I remember the wind blowing down a large tree, blocking any entrance or exit of our street. As the wind began to pick up our back door flew open and the birds, who were previously dealing with winds reported to have been over 100mph, flew into our small pink house seeking shelter, settling on pots that sat on the stove . As the birds and my family grew comfortable, my sister and I gathered by the front window to watch the hurricane’s wrath.  We gasped as we saw pigs from the farms on the other side of the  fly by, squealing. Note that according to The Bahamas Guide, the island is only 63 sq. miles.   We saw our satellite dish fly across the street onto our neighbor’s property. Now this was no small feat our satellite dish was nothing like those of today, in fact it was probably over 20 times larger than the small grey dish that now resides on the roof of my parents’ home, and was attached to a black pole, much taller than our house. I remember as the winds died down, walking outside to inspect the damage with my dad. Trees succumbed to Lili’s gusts of wind and had fallen all around us. Several animals displaced, miles away from their homes and farms. I recently learned from my parents that there were no deaths on the island during that hurricane.
Fast forward 15 years later, the night Hurricane Irene was expected to hit Philadelphia, I crawled into bed and slept as the hurricane killed, destroyed and caused floods on the east coast. While many believe that the hurricane was “hyped” by the media, I believe that it was the hype that saved lives and lessened possible damages. Americans were prepared for the hurricane as those Bahamians were 15 years ago. And as the sun shines on a beautiful Monday morning, I am thankful that the media created a “hype.”

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