The Era of Hurricanes.
If you've resided in North America long enough, you'll get familiar with the word 'hurricane' so much. Hurricanes happen from late summer to fall each year. Sometimes hurricanes will downgrade into tropical storms before making any major landfall; sometimes they gain strength to a higher category when approaching main land. Regardless of the different categories, hurricanes are always indesirable.
Okay, Rita came, made its landfall, and remains to be a Category One hurricane as of now. You can get your news from cnn.com, weather.com, msnbc.com, etc. I don't have to elaborate on the latest news.
I had actually been through a major hurricane once when I was in Halifax, Canada. It was a Category 2 hurricane, namely Hurrican Juan. We were not evacuated. The truth was I did not know it was gonna be a hurricane, until the last minute. No, it was not that the authority did not inform the citizens, but I had no TV, no radio, and the weather forecast website that I relied on so much was merely telling me that we were gonna get lots of rain, with strong and sustained wind up to 170km/h. Having no experience about hurricane, I did not know that strong wind was the indicator of hurricane. Hence I was not aware of the arrival of possible calamity, at all. The weather forecast website also indicated that there would be a risk of power outage due to the gusting strong wind. During that time, I was living on an apartment which has 11 floors, and my apartment was at the 7th floor. The minute I heard about power outage, I thought about no phone, no internet, no elevators, and no cooking. Just FYI, the fixed-line phone that I had was cable-generated. Without electricity, the phone connection would be gone. As for the matter of cooking, we were using electricity-generated stove to cook. Without power, there would be no cooking, at all, as both stove and microwave would not be functional.
Next, I started worried about the giant windows in my apartment. The window was actually facing the ocean, so I wondered whether could the glass withstand the strong sustained wind. Being the only person left in the apartment as my fellow housemates were away to other provinces for their work-terms, I began to feel jittery. Luckily my friends who were living not far away offered me to stay-over, for companionship sake. So I quickly packed my stuffs and went over to my friends' place.
While I was there in my friends' cozy house, we were watching the television closely about the upcoming hurricane. Only then, I knew, oh, hurricane. That was the first time in my life I got to understand this term fully. The hurricane was known as hurricane Juan. All the news channel were giving warnings saying that it would be something rather severe. We followed the news closely, watching the hurricane approched the mainland bit by bit. The storm surge was terrible, as it would double my height, or even triple. Some callers from other areas would call-in to inform the authority that they had experienced power outage. Very soon, we had the same fate. The entire Halifax soon fall into absolute darkness. It was around midnight I remembered. So, we did what we could do the best, go to bed, that was. Although we were in indoor, we could feel the gusting strong winds. The house was practically trembling. Of course it was frightening, but we managed to fall asleep later on.
The next day we woke up, the sun was already up there giving us a big smiley face. It was so shiny. As we walked on the street, we could not believe what came into our views. There were so so so so many fallen trees. The fallen trees were over those houses, cars, power-line, or lying completely on the floor. Some places got flooded a little. In the waterfront of Halifax, the boardwalk was completely destroyed and the debris were everywhere. A few yachts, and even ships were blown onshore, when they were supposed to be on the water. Fallen trees were everywhere. Most of the trees were at least a hundres years old, but those old trees with strong roots still could not endure the sustained wind, and got struck down. And because most of the power-line were destructed by the trees, there were no electricity for most parts of the city.
Schools were closed for entire week, so did most of the stores. Everyone was eager to purchase non-perishable food as refrigerator wasn't functioning. Breads were the item that would sold out fast, if any available. Many people relied on barbeque when it came to cooking, or gas if you were lucky. That was the lives of Haligonians after the hurricane. Candle lights were everywhere, but it was dangerous at the same time because most of the houses were made using wood (hard to imagine by fellow Malaysians, eh?). Many places needed repairs; many places needed restoration; many elderly people needed assistance. Everyone was friendly to offer a helping hand, if requested. There was no looting, no fighting, except a little whining, a little rambling ... People tried their best to stay calm nevertheless, be patient, and had faith with all the authorities. The transition period was bitter, but at the end of everything, most people tolerated it well.
Hurricane Katrina was a monster disaster because it hit New Orleans, a city that is below sea level. Levees play an important role in defending the city. If the levees are destroyed, the city will go under water, something you may see now. It is gonna be a tough job to repair the levee, pump out the water, and dry up the city.
I seriously wish that this is the end of this year's hurricane season.