Gut Rumbles

September 17, 2004

hurricane opal

I've been reading some posts from bloggers in north Georgia about the effects of Hurricane Ivan on them. These people are 400 miles from the Florida coast and they STILL got a scary dose of the storm. I feel their pain. I was staying at Blood Mountain Cabins in October of 1995 when Opal roared through there.

Jennifer and I went into Helen the morning before the storm hit. She wanted to shop for souvenirs and I wanted to drink beer. A place called "The Wurst Haus" has a nice, covered biergarten, so that's where I stayed with Quinton while my wife went shopping. A drizzling rain had been falling all day and I liked the biergarten because they had nice, dark beer and a covered place for Quinton to burn up some energy running around without getting wet.

I hadn't paid any attention to the news for days. (That's back before George put satellite TV in the cabins.) Some people in the biergarten told me about Opal and I listened to the news on the radio while we were driving back to the cabin. The storm was headed our way after it made landfall. "We should stop and buy some candles and a couple of flashlights," I suggested. "We probably won't need them, but it's better to be safe than sorry."

Man, those were famous last words. We stopped and bought our hurricane supplies with me telling Jennifer all along, "By the time it gets up here, it won't be anything other than a minor windstorm. We can handle that." I forgot about the fact that the cabins are at 3,000 feet in the mountains.

Some people who read this blog have SEEN Blood Mountain cabins. Imagine waking up at 4:00 in the morning with the entire cabin rocking on its stilted legs. Imagine hearing the wind howl in the trees like a banshee with its ass on fire. Imagine hearing what you first thought were gunshots in the woods until you realized that it was the sound of trees snapping off at the trunk.

Jennifer and I were sleeping in the cabin loft. I went downstairs and checked on Quinton. He was out like a light, which was fitting because all the electricity was off in the cabin. I then went to the sliding glass door that led to the deck and put my hand against it. I could feel that sucker BREATHING!

I am NOT making this up. Every time another howling wind rocked the cabin, I could feel the glass BEND with the force. I opened the door and stepped out onto the deck. I shined my flashlight straight up into the air and saw tree limbs the size of my LEG sailing horizontally through the air over the cabin and occassionally banging on the roof like thunder.

That shit lasted for six hours. Trees fell all over the place and hit three of the cabins, all unoccupied at the time. We survived, but it was a frightening experience because there is no "off" switch for that stuff. It goes on as long as it wants to.

George didn't get power back to the cabins for nine days after that. No power means no water in the cabins. Quinton wasn't two years old at the time, so we couldn't stay there and rough it with HIM on board. We also couldn't LEAVE until late that afternoon because all the roads were blocked with fallen trees.

Opal was a tropical storm when it raped and pillaged at Blood Mountain. Ask me NOW why I fear hurricanes.


Frances was only a Cat 2 (Opal was a 3), and our windows were 'breathing' through our aluminum storm shutters. You could see them bowing in. That's when we took the kids to the safe room.

My parents were in Opal as it passed over Pensacola, where they live. They had some damage. Nothing like this though.. My Mom said Opal was nothing like Ivan and she rode them both out. Scary stuff.

I think my family must have a hurricane target on all our homes for this year.

Posted by: Boudicca on September 17, 2004 01:08 PM

The worst part of the hurricane is the days after. First time users of chain saws , first time users of generators, but the worst part is finding out your forgot to buy coffee. One of my neighbors tried to wire his new generator to his house through the fuse box. Another one was running his inside his garage with the door down. The best was the guy next door who couldn't figure out how to put a chain on his brand new chain saw. I can hardly wait for Jeanne.

Posted by: James Old Guy on September 17, 2004 02:30 PM

Opal put a tree through my Volkswagen Golf, the rotten whore. I was living in Chamblee at the time, and I knew exaclty what had happened as soon as I heard it. That car never was right after that.

Posted by: Rube on September 17, 2004 03:33 PM

I spent a winter in a yurt in the woods in New Mexico. A yurt is a tent.

One time a sudden wind kicked up and I heard a noise like a jet airplane coming in for a crash landing. BrreeeoooOOOWWWWW! I ran outside and looked up at the sky. The sky was all screwed up and there were sticks flying around up there. Then the stormfront hit with horizontal hail, so I ran back inside.

New Mexico weather is notorious for changing fast, and for waterspouts and other sudden events. I'd seen many hailstorms come on like that, but never with a tornado. It touched my nearest neighbor's house (no damage) and twisted off a big pinon tree in his yard. If it had scored a direct hit on the yurt I guess I'd have gone for a Dorothy ride.

I've never seen a hurricane.

Posted by: dipnut on September 17, 2004 05:12 PM

I justwent thru Wanda in Weson, FL.
Does Fayetteville, Georgia get many hurricanes? I want out.

Posted by: George on October 27, 2005 09:14 PM
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