Tracking Hurricanes in California

It just might seem crazy that someone in earthquake country would worry about hurricanes, but for me is comes natural. You see I may live in earthquake country but my entire biological family lives, you guessed it, in hurricane territory. So this weekend was one of those where I was on edge as I watched Hurricane Ike make landfall about 50 miles west of where my family was all hunkered down.

With earthquakes, you just never know when it is going to hit, you live your life everyday knowning that today could be the day for the "Big One" but it is just a normal part of your daily life living in Southern California. But living in hurricane territory, for several months a year you keep an eye on what the weather is doing out beyond the Carribean where "they"are born.
You keep an eye on every tropical depression that appears and you learn to hate it when they attach a name to it, because once they name it, you know it is big enough to eventually become a nightmare for you.

With earthquakes, they strike and are gone just about as soon as they come. But hurricanes will come at you slowly and build in power as they make their way in your direction. You watch them everyday, slowly coming in your direction but still not knowing where they are truly going to go. It is always a guessing game, a game of suspense. Even when you think you know for sure just where it will strike, it can change directions in a matter of hours and head in a direction you never expected.

Three years ago, Hurricane Rita decided to pay a visit to my family in Texas, a very unwelcomed visit indeed. My family dates back to the 1800's in East Texas (on the Neff side
In all those years, never had any of my family ever had to evacuate for a hurricane. Oh we
had hurricanes visit us throught the years, but unless you were really close to the coast,
you just boarded up your windows, made sure nothing was laying out in the yard that would blow away and you just stayed inside till it was over. The last big one I personally remember
was back in the late 1960's. It was a Friday night and my Mom and Dad and little brother and myself were sitting in the stands watching the Silsbee Tigers play football against some other High School team. The reason I even remember it is I remember my Mom making mention of it.
The wind started blowing some and it started to rain and she said "Well I guess the Hurricane is getting closer". We finished watching the game and went home and that night the wind really blew and man did it rain. The next day we saw pictures on TV that showed the beach close to Galveston where it had come ashore. It was a mess there but we just got some strong winds. But in 2005 when Rita came to visit, it was a total different story. My Mom was 87, and it was the first time she ever had to pack up and evacuate her home, not knowing what would be left of it, if anything, when she returned. My entire family evacuated to diffrent places in North Texas and waited out the storm. My sister took my Mom with her as they went up close to Dallas.

I told them then I had rather been right there with them than to have to be out here watching it on TV and not really knowing how they all were doing. My family was extremely lucky when Rita came . My Mom's house was ok, just an electrical box blew off her house. My sister had more damage,trees down, one of their big storage sheds was torn apart and they had many many trees down on their property. My brother's house was ok with just minor damage. It is truly a time that my family will never forget, when we were scattered in so many different places just waiting out the time to see what was left of their lives after the Storm.

Now this past week, Ike decided to pay a visit. At first we thought he was going to come in around Corpus Christi which is at the exteme southern tip of Texas. But as the week went by
we knew that Ike was going to be coming in very close to, if not directly into, where my family was. I can not even begin to tell you the sense of helplessness that I feel when things like this happen. Here I am 1600 miles from them and know what they are going through in preparing for a Storm of this magnitude, and not being about to do one thing to help. Everyone is really great in contacting me with what their plans are and where they will be during the storm.
Thay way I can relay it to the others when I talk to them. They all may in different places, but we all know just where everyone else is. So it was Friday evening before Ike made land fall. I
knew just where each on of them were and we all just waited. The last time I was able to talk with any of them was around 7pm our time here in LA. I was glued to CNN to watch the storm and different broadcasts from the area in Texas. So around midnight our time, Ike decide
to come in at Galveston, about 50 miles to the west of my family. I knew they were having very strong winds (between 85-110 miles per hours) but I knew they were not getting the flood water. I went to bed around 1am. At 8am , my sister was able to get through on her cell phone to let me know that everyone had made it through ok and with very little damage. I almost cried. That was the last time I was able to hear from any of them until late this afternoon when I was able to get through to my sister.

Once again my family had made it through and was safe.

I am so very thankful.