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Hurricane Weather
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We have a hurricane with Louisiana squarely in its sights. This is too early in the year for a hurricane, but I guess someone forgot to tell Arlene.

I remember several hurricanes in my childhood. Howling winds battering the house, Atlantic storm surge putting us under water temporarily, trees blown over were all part of the usual phenomena.

Hurricane Diane (1955, I think) was especially memorable. It came, as I remember, right on the heels of another hurricane. The ground was already saturated with water and the rivers were running full with some spilling over their banks. Hurrican Diane roared into town with the stage all set for disaster.

I was at summer camp that summer and far from home. At least, it seemed that way. I wasn't particularly afraid of hurricanes since my family and I had ridden out several with no adverse effects. However, as darkness fell, Diane blew harder, the rain slashed at everything outside and the strongest trees began to creak and groan.

Our YWCA camp was on the verge of a lake and the lake rose and inundated us. We were cold and wet and nervous. The storm was so loud it was hard to talk to each other, but we huddled together for mutual comfort in tents set up higher on the hill out of the running water.

We could see, in the distance, that the storm surge had flooded the magnesium storage facility upstream along the river and the barrels of magnesium burning as they floated down, brilliant blue-white against the deep storm blackness.

The Salvation Army came--at the height of the storm--to bring us coffee and donuts and dry blankets (glorious!). I was impressed by their care for us and by the fact that they braved the worst of the storm to make sure we were all right. They strung a telephone line for us and helped us call our families to tell them we were all right.

And I was terrifically happy at getting coffee--real coffee that wasn't mostly milk. Just like the grown-ups drank.

To my mind, the Salvation Army by that act set the standard for disaster relief. The Red Cross showed up the next morning after the storm had passed.

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