Hurricane Lee and his rage invaded…leaving Pennsylvanians in shock…the time has come to rebuild again…
A day that will be marked in history…the impact on Pennsylvanians for years to come…dreams shattered and nightmares began. That day is September 7, 2011. Less than two weeks before, Hurricane Irene was upon us and citizens scattered to safety. It wasn’t that bad really – just a lot of annoying rain…but, nothing too severe. No one predicted that it was just minor foreplay instigated by Mother Nature herself. It’s beyond me what would cause her to react this way…to ignore any sense of humanity she once had. Whether it was a curse from God or a freak act of nature, the bottom line is simple – Pennsylvania must rebuild itself once again.
Growing up, I heard stories of the 1972 floods…I saw pictures and news clippings. My mom was pregnant with me at the time – I can only imagine what she had to endure…now I know. The fear is more than real. When a moment like this occurs, it strikes us at the core of our being. Communities washed away, businesses destroyed, bridges collapsing, people dying…there’s no sense to be found within any of it. Teetering on the edge of insanity is the only way to describe the emotions that pour through our bodies…our minds. The attempt to understand or seek normalcy behind something of this magnitude is non-existent. Relying on our survival instinct was the only thing left to do. Fighting to save ourselves…wishing we could save others…while realizing we stood alone.
September 7, 2011…the day Hurricane Lee snuck through Pennsylvania borders. It started out as a simple kind of day. Took my son to work that morning without a care in the world. Then it struck, what I thought was just a minor drizzle…three hours later, turned into so much more. I witnessed cars being swallowed whole by water. This couldn’t be happening…not here…not again. They say that history repeats itself in strange ways – this was the topping on the cake What started out as a couple inches of rainfall resulted in many feet of water…in a matter of minutes. There was nothing any of us could do – no time to prepare. Since Hurricane Irene was so over-hyped, the news dismissed any severity that could come with the next one…they were dead wrong. As I was struggling through the flood waters to get my son from work, I was busy trying to track down the rest of my family and friends. Their safety was just as relevant as my own.
The rain continued to pour down on us for over 15 hours after that. The thunder was earth-shattering…the lightning was numbing. As a friend of mine simply stated, “it sounds like the house is underneath a waterfall”. She couldn’t have been more right. Every passing moment became more terrifying than the last…there was no end in sight. With all the media outlets available, it was possible to keep up to date with how this storm was affecting the area I call home. The biggest contributor of information was Facebook – that’s no surprise to anyone. It seems that Hurricane Lee had a plan of his own…and his eyes were dead set on destroying Central Pennsylvania. The pictures that were posted of this historic flood were enough to bring tears to the strongest of men. It was horrific and evil…there’s no other way to describe it.
This is surely an event that my youngest son will never forget…after all, he turned 18 today…the day after destruction. As for the rest of us, I’m sure we’ll all find our own reasons to never forget it. Some of them will be good…others will be bad – regardless, we survived the flood of 2011 together.