Thursday, September 18, 2003

The Perfect Storm...

I'll huff, and I'll puff...Tomorrow, Hurricane Isabel will land on the east coast of the United States. I've often wondered what is it about that area of the world that is so attractive to hurricanes and tornadoes. If you don't know what a hurricane can do let me share my personal experience:

In June 1998, I was in Moscow, Russia, when there occured a freak hurricane which lasted about half an hour, killing 9 people and causing extensive damage. There were no warnings like what the American public is receiving, it just suddenly took off and blew like hell for 30 mins.

I remember that I was at home one evening in my 8th story apartment, watching TV. There was suddenly a roaring sound outside, and my natural reaction was to go to the balcony door to look outside and see what was making all that racket (I thought maybe it was a low-flying aircraft). I was almost sucked right out! And I'll never forget the sound that was almost deafening until I closed the door again - like being near the business end of a jet engine. I could feel the entire building vibrate, the windows were all shaking in their frames, and when I put my face near the glass to peer outside I could see that the air was filled with debris such as tree branches, leaves, and paper and other trash. It was very intense and scary. The next morning the whole area was a mess. Debris and rubbish was everywhere, many windows were blown out, and about a quarter of the trees were uprooted or snapped. I was glad I lived in a building made of concrete blocks, and not some flimsy wooden house.

And the Moscow hurricane had 65 MPH winds. Isabel will land tomorrow at over 100 MPH.