September 13, 2011

Maria reaches

Yesterday, I pulled the aluminum covers off my windows, protection from the threat of Irene a few weeks ago. She's long gone, and though hurricane season isn't over yet there doesn't appear to be anything upcoming. I want a breeze through my apartment. And Maria - she's heading north of the island, presumably to get lost and fizzle out over the Atlantic.

But ya see, hurricanes and tropical storms have these wings or tentacles that stick out well beyond the eye of the storm. The eye can pass close by, and the storm might not do a whole lot. But those darn tentacles can do damage all over. 

So with Maria cruising up the Atlantic, away from Puerto Rico, I went to sleep with a little drizzle outside of my window. By 1 AM, I felt just a little spray coming in my window. The wind had picked up and the slow, distant rumble of thunder had become decidedly less distant. Now it was flashing and crashing all around. There was a howl - not the freight train people tell me comes along with a real hurricane - as the wind began to blow in a constant. I began to wonder if something was kicking up. Probably, though, it was just a big thunderstorm.

If I had I left the aluminum covers up on my windows, I wouldn't have to worry about any rain getting in. But since I'd taken them down, just a little bit of mist was getting through. Outside the window, they were standing carelessly up against my washer. I got up and closed the shutters tight and laid back down.

A big gust of wind, and


The sound was huge and unmistakable. They fell over and started banging and clanging around on the ground as the wind pushed them along the concrete beneath my windows. Roughly five feet from where I was sleeping, just a concrete wall with some tightly closed shutters was between me and them and the storm that pushing them effortlessly around.

I briefly thought I probably ought to go tie them down or something. Then, another crash of thunder.


I rolled over and slept until, around 4:30 am, it all kicked up again. And it rained non-stop for several more hours.

When I emerged from my house from my apartment, I was met with this:

There used to be an awning covering the walkway to our dining hall. You can see the poles bent over, not knowing which way they're supposed to point. The thing they held up is way over there resting against that palm tree. On its way there, it roughed up our playground even more than termites and time already had. It needs a replacement. That's not the sound I heard. But you can imagine, that awning weighs several hundred pounds, thrown more than 100 feet.

This was more than just a little thunderstorm. Beware the long reach of Maria.

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