When the media and press began breathing hard with the mention of a hurricane and began going mental with the possibility of another Katrina, I started thinking of my childhood in the late 30s, early 40s, and 50s.
We were also forewarned a couple of days before of the oncoming storms by radio, but it was just a fast “Flash.” We’d read in the previous day’s newspapers about its affects on Cuba or Florida and the direction it might go. All the information if I remember correctly came from ship-to-shore from barometric readings and of course paraphernalia the weathermen used at that time. They were incredibly efficient for that period. They also had records or long memories of previous hurricanes and the routs they had taken, sometimes dating back hundreds of years.
I always prayed a little harder that the hurricanes would come during the school week and not during weekends. We got off the day of the storm, as the experts knew their arrival time. The schools took no chances even though it was before we became a litigious society.
The day of each hurricane began normally with slightly blowing winds, birds chirping and the air-feeling crisp if it were fall. As the day progressed you could see the skies becoming overcast, with the winds lessening until the leaves on the trees were motionless. The surrounding area at this time was completely devoid of a single singing bird. The silence was overwhelming with the air totally oppressive. It was like the lights had gone out at the opera as the overture to the first act was about to begin. One leave would move, then slowly another, as you could begin to see them shimmer. A few more, then a flurry, with the entire tree entering to play its part as a full string section. The surrounding trees like woodwinds and brass came in forte, with the bombastic percussion and large cymbals clashing with a fury at fortississimo level, as the storm was now full-blown. The crescendo of wind and rain continued building until it had reached its peak, then the decrescendo began until it had finally descended to pianississimo at its conclusion, leaving in its wake ruin and devastation.