Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Can't Trust Those GIRLS...


For many years hurricanes had only female names, names like Donna and Camille, but then equality became fashionable. Male names alternated with female names. I remember a Hurricane David that was quite destructive. Andrew was a killer storm of major proportions.

Last year, 2006, was a quiet one and Miami escaped with nothing but a few low pressure areas bringing some rain, but the rotation never really developed and the atmospheric pressure never fell low enough to encourage development into a full fledged hurricane. We were all happy about that.

2005, though, was different. Almost within days of one another Hurricane Katrina, followed by Hurricane Wilma, churned through south Florida shearing off tree limbs, knocking down whole trees even, and demolishing storage sheds and pool enclosures. Tens of thousands of damaged roofs started leaking, shingles scattered across whole neighborhoods, electric and phone lines were downed, traffic signals didn't work, gas stations couldn't pump gas. Bedlam reigned for a few days.

My ex-wife Claudia was lucky and her electric was back on within two days. I'd have to wait another nine or ten, yet I only live a mile away. It pays to stay friends, though. I had showers and hot coffee in exchange for bringing my chain saw over there and cutting up some downed trees and branches. This tree missed her truck but blocked the driveway unless she drove across the lawn to reach the street. There was a lot more to cut up in the back yard but this tree was soon cut into four foot lengths and stacked by the side of the street. City crews, along with crews from the electric and phone companies, soon got the streets and alleys cleared and began working on restoring the utilities.

Then, of course, the second storm hit! Most of the trees that were likely to fall had already fallen. The weak branches likely to knock out wires had already come down. Still, things were a mess for weeks.

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