Thursday, September 18, 2003

Isabel blog.

"A storm the size of Colorado," said someone on the radio this afternoon about hurricane Isabel. I suppose that could have been a storm the size of Wyoming, too, but in any case it wasn't anywhere near those western states, or this Midwestern state in which I find myself. In fact, but for instant communication with the East Coast, we would have no notion that anything so violent was lapping North America, since today was a perfectly clear, very calm late summer day in Chicago.

A hurricane in Illinois would be a peculiar thing, but not as strange as you might think. In November 1998, a storm blew through the Great Lakes, damaging buildings, knocking down trees, blowing over things. According to one weatherman, at least, the storm would have been called a hurricane, had it originated in the Caribbean. He also noted that it was the same caliber of storm that had sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald 23 years earlier.

It didn't do any major damage to my property, but I did have to walk through the winds that night, and I have a clear picture in my mind of twin pine trees in someone's front yard with their trunks sightly but visibly gyrating, and their branches whip-flop-whip-snap-whipping.

Then there was the typhoon that hit Osaka square on, in September 1990. Actually, not a dead-on hit, since the island of Shikoku tends to absorb some of the energy of typhoons before they get to Osaka Bay. But it was a long night of wind, rain and rattling windows, which I thought might pop into my room and shower me with glass. So I moved the mattress away from the windows and passed the night restlessly. The windows held their own.


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