Mar 28, 2023
Mar 28, 2023
by Michael Levy
As I tap the keys on my computer keyboard the ferocious winds outside my beach front condo are howling and rattling the storm shutters. It seems to be saying 'I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll try to blow your condo down. Or, perhaps it is saying, 'Feel my power and respect it.' You know, I like the second voice far more than the first one.
You might well ask what are you doing staying in a beach evacuation area, on a barrier island, in the middle of a hurricane named Frances? Some subjective folks could possibly answer... 'Where there is no sense, there is no feeling.' However, the simple answer is, it is for me, a once in a lifetime experience and one that I would not have wanted to miss.
Proceeding at just 5 mph, this probably will be known as the slowest moving, most widespread hurricane in the history of Florida hurricanes. With wind gusts up to 105 miles per hour the enchantress who is guiding the storm is in no hurry to move on. It is moving over a three hundred mile coastal front. South, Central and Northern Florida are all experiencing the effects of the power of hurricane Frances. It started on Friday afternoon with outer bands of 40 mph wind and heavy rain. Followed by an evening of periods of calm and heavy showers. Just a prelude to the orchestration that was about to begin on Saturday morning. And boy, did it begin. It is now Saturday afternoon and the powerful winds keep trying to command my attention.
All local TV stations have been giving 24 hour coverage since Thursday morning, hyping up the fear and anxiety. Continually pounding viewers with all the terrible things that could occur. I think people already know what damage can be done without being brainwashed continually on every station. To be fair, the metrologists do a super job in tracking the storm and locating its land fall, but all the rest of the hype is magnifying unnecessary stress.
How much better it would be if they showed tension easing meditation classes, stress reducing programs and pacifying, soothing music to help people relax and enjoy whatever nature brings. We're going to experience a hurricane regardless. Accordingly, as long as we have battened down the hatches, if we can have a choice to enjoy the storm or fear it, I think most folks would want to choose enjoyment.
Everyone will have many diverse experiences in their lives and the way they are envisaged will be recorded in their memory banks as a good or bad experience. With the correct mind set, the optimum positiveness can always be established from the most detrimental, negative events.
Today, the TV crews are on the beach from Miami up to Melbourne relating what it feels like to be standing on the beach in the winds of the fierce hurricane. I feel sorry for the crews who have been told to go out to report from dangerous places. How uncalled-for and how uncaring are the media chiefs in their hunt for sensationalism? In contrast, all the emergency services and Red Cross do a most super job in helping people to find safe shelters and assisting them overcome anxiety and fears. The emergency folks (police, fireman, ambulance staff, etc.) do go out, whenever possible, in extreme storm conditions, to calls for aid and assistance. Kudos to all. The police also deserve praise for preventing looters and other unsavory creatures who try to take advantage of other peoples misfortunes.
There are always amusing stories to be told, relating to the media coverage. Last night (Friday) two TV stations were reporting from the same spot, A1A and Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach. One reporter claimed the police are strictly enforcing a 10 PM curfew and everyone was obeying it. I then clicked over to the other channel and another reporter stated, although there is a curfew in place, the police are not enforcing it and the Irish pub across the road has a lots of people inside enjoying drinks and meals. Just one of the many contrasting reports that made little sense, but when you have a storm that is set to last for over 48 hours, you have to find something to rattle on about.
In my eighth floor condo, that has an east and west vista, I look out towards the ocean. It is only a hundred feet away from the edge of our development, (maybe not even that far). I watch huge waves bouncing into the air and crashing down with an almighty roar. The ocean waves are putting on a show of strength that I have never seen before. I am in awe of the magnificent beauty of its rollicking and heaving movements. Tossing and turning super wave energies, magnetically electrified with super potency and strength. It seems there is some greater power that is holding back the tide and stopping it from engulfing the whole development. I can understand why the ancient Greeks believed in so many gods with unique powers. I am thankful to the mythical water god for putting on such a splendid show. However I must say, I am extraordinarily grateful to the wind enchantress that is holding back the waves.
As I look to the West I can see a deserted road. On the A1A, I observe an empty boarded up shopping mall. Wind and rain lashes over a car park, as palm trees cavort an excruciating dance for survival. I see many empty houses and condos all boarded up. It has a very eerie sense to it, with the atmosphere of a ghost town. Even the birds have flown to safety, having the sense to take shelter in some nook or cranny.
I live in a holiday town that is accustomed to lots of traffic and people laughing as they cross the road with beach chairs in their hands. They go to lay in the sunshine and enjoy bathing in the calm Atlantic ocean. But not today, for this day belongs to hurricane Frances. I suppose this could conceivably be my last day on earth, if that normally smooth ocean decides it wants to take over my space with a tidal, storm surge wave. The major part of the hurricane has not yet hit (due in eight hours, around 1 am) so, I should be feeling anxiety, panic and trepidation. Instead, I cannot get beyond my joyful feelings of being privileged in having a grandstand seats to the most spectacular show of natures power I am ever going to witness first hand.
I retire to bed at ten-thirty, the cable TV is down so no more local channel nonsense. Tomorrow I can tune into the radio and get weather updates from people who only want to report essential news. Sunday morning arrives and there is a lull in the storm. The eye of the hurricane made land fall about ninety miles up north. Because of the size of Frances we can still expect a full day of storms once the slow moving eye heads more inland towards the Florida Panhandle. I try to go online but find my telephone line has gone down. But I am thankful I still have electricity. Perhaps because most folks evacuated this area, the demand is very light or maybe we are just lucky at the moment. Over two million homes are without electric.
Well, morning has passed with minor turbulence, so I guess the worst is over and we can expect an afternoon of more strong winds, heavy rain and some local flooding in low lying areas. Thankfully, the life threatening tidal storm surge has been put off for another day, another time. I am thankful to the universal powers that control the tides? One other thing about Frances, she is a very quite storm, for there was not one clap of thunder, nor one streak of lightening as far as I am aware. She went about her natures business in a very dignified, leisurely manner.
Perhaps I have been hypnotized by the lady enchantresses magnetic awesome power? And perhaps I do have a few slates loose in my exploratory mind? But, I would not have missed this experience for all the money in the world. I think most folks in Florida now realize it is nature that controls mother earth, not humans. I take my hat off and gently bow my head in respect to the powerful lady Frances, who sure knows how to kick up one phenomenal storm.
More by : Michael Levy