Monday, May 12, 2008

Island City Survives

First of all, my information is all second hand, from phone conversations and emails. So there's that as a disclaimer. I'm in New Orleans, I have not seen any of the damage to St. Simons Island or Darien with my own eyes.

To the left, you are driving somewhere in the vicinity of Sea Palms West, in the middle of St. Simons Island, Georgia. I can't tell you exactly where it is, because I don't recognize the street anymore. One of my best friends grew up approximately 300 yards to the south of this location (and his parents still live there), and I rode my bike past this place more times than I can count. You shouldn't be able to see the sky, as the road should be canopied by majestic live oaks.

Of course, upon hearing that a tornado had ripped up her Island, the Moms did the only rational thing: she waited for the storm to clear, and went out to take pictures. I've told her for years she should either be a house flipper or a storm chaser. So all these pictures are courtesy of Wendy Armstrong.

She sent these to me and told me I could show them to our New Orleans family. After I got off the phone, I realized two things: 1) the New Orleans family doesn't need to see pictures of destruction in other states - we see enough of that here, and 2) another uncle of mine lives in Atlanta, and his office was shut down back in March - by another tornado.

But it could be worse. Many people in Oklahoma, Arkansas and other states have lost loved ones this Spring. So far, Coastal Georgia's casualties are mainly trees and property, which can grow back or be repaired.

Oh yeah, and this is only a taste of what it would be like in a hurricane. Luckily, after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 Coastal Georgia began to take emergency preparedness rather seriously. Half the pictures my Mom sent me have clean-up vehicles moving about. And you can see from these that roads have, for the most part, been cleared for through traffic.

It wasn't just St. Simons Island and Glynn County that got a tornado, either. Darien, Georgia, just north up the coast, got hammered even worse. And, again, this is nothing compared to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

It is a miracle that no one was killed in the Coastal Empire by these things. There ain't that many places to hide. A close family friend, well, her house was at the epicenter of destruction on the Island. She hid in a closet with her dogs until the thing passed by. Her yard, once shaded by giant live oaks, is now bathed in sun.

Strange thing is, some folks very close to these storms didn't even lose power for a moment. Others are still waiting to get it back. A lot of folks went out and got on their bikes and started taking pictures.

But I've called or emailed or heard from or about most of the folks I know in these affected areas. If anything had happened to anyone, I'd like to think I'd have heard about it by now. So we don't have to worry about burying the dead. This time. Clean up can begin in earnest.

Update 5/14/08:For those of you linking directly here from other sites, first of all, thanks for the visit. Second, I have an additional post and pictures that you can see here. HR



liberalandproud said...

I have to admit that I experienced a tiny bit of schaudenfreude (sp?) when I saw the devastation of the driving range. They certainly destroyed the views/settings of several homes when they built that thing. If only it were the only thing hit.

Leigh C. said...

I'm relieved all of the folks you are in contact with are okay. Tell 'em to tell FEMA to take their trailers and shove 'em up theirs sideways if they are offered to rebuilding residents.

2008 Hurricane Workshop said...

Great blog!

christy said...

We were less than a mile away - reading a book, enjoying the gray shade and subtle breeze. Little did we know - a TORNADO was mid-strike