The first hurricane I remember was Carla. The Southeast Texas Coast evacuated, and even without a direct hit, many low areas flooded, and there was wind damage. We evacuated, and as a child, the experience was a strange adventure. I could see the expression on my parents faces as we returned. They didn't know what to expect, and their relief was apparent, when no damage was found.
Over the years, we had more close calls. One was Alicia, which hit Houston. I was an adult, so my brother, and I, went toward the coast to see the effects.
The tide was about four feet higher than normal. Where there were once bluffs on the ship channel, the waves lapped over the banks, and some of the roads were closed to the coastal areas. Since I didn't own a home, the desperation felt from an approaching hurricane wasn't felt.
Hurricane Bonnie was my first experience as a homeowner. Bonnie was a category 1, the storm quickly formed in the Gulf, and there wasn't a call for an evacuation. We stayed, watched large sections of roof shingles blow away, and felt the fury of the storm. Repairs took weeks, and the week without electricity wasn't pleasant.
Over the next few years, we had a few smaller hurricanes that were close. Some killed the power for days, and one was nearly dry. The winds blew millions of salt water mosquitoes from the coastal marshes, and they stayed for weeks. A journey outside at dusk was terrible. I literally would rake mosquitoes from my arms.
Rita was next. We evacuated, which was a horrible experience. The nearly stopped traffic led to hours of waiting, hoping to not run out of gas, and the apprehension of not knowing where we would go. Adding the knowledge of predatory, and panicked people, only made it worse. The return trip took three hours, and being turned away from certain roads due to damage.
Rita caused some roof damage. That, and some tree limbs to be cut, but three weeks without power was the real problem. With working all daylight hours on cleanup, the trip to work was a dark journey filled with thoughts of things to be done.
We stayed for Ike. That was an experience. With a landfall only about fifty miles away, the 80 mph sustained winds were something to behold. I kept thinking we could leave, if things were to become too bad. That was a thought without experience for reference. The horizontal winds would have been impossible to endure, and any one of the tornadoes that rumbled through the night could have led to certain death. Our damage was minimal, but many lost everything to the storm surge that exceeded 19 feet in some areas.
So, I've had my experience with hurricanes, and Harvey last year yielded a terrible flood, even though landfall was hundreds of mile away. That's why I know how many on the East Coast are feeling. I wish them the best, and hope Florence doesn't make a U.S. landfall. Nobody deserves such an event, and the results interrupt the lives of people for a long, long time.