Storm tracking

Sep 16, 2003

As you may know, North Carolina is bracing for the onslaught of Hurricane Isabel, which will be coming ashore sometime Thursday. We’re 150 miles inland, but we’re preparing anyway for heavy rains, high winds and the possibility of no power for a week or more – Hurricane Fran hit the Chapel Hill area in the 90s and knocked out power. That history, and our own experience last December after an ice storm killed our power for 6 days, has us nervous.

In between school work and storm tracking tonight, I stepped into the closet to dig through my Peace Corps Vanuatu files. I read through my journals to relive the cyclones that touched the islands during our time there (1997-’99). These included Susan, Katerina, Yali, Sumane, Danny and Ella. Susan, Yali and Danny had us holed up in the sturdiest structures we could find – sometimes cinder-block homes, other times reed-and-thatch huts, and luckily Paama and Epi were spared direct hits. I recorded the movements of those cyclones, and it’s fun to think back on those rainy nights as I sat with my Radio Shack short-wave radio in my lap and listened to the weather reports.

In reading my journals, I discovered that in my first weeks at site I was quite ill. Looking back, it would seem that I had contracted Dengue fever. Hmmm. Quite possible. Erin’s response? “I’d be relieved.” Relieved because then she wouldn’t have been alone in contracting a mosquito-borne disease while there. (She had both Dengue and malaria.)

More about hurricanes to come tomorrow, when I post a long letter from Frank the Beachcomber about his experiences with Hurricane Hugo in 1989 on the Outer Banks.

Anton Zuiker

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