That time I survived a hurricane

I thought I’d share the time I was caught right smack in the middle of Hurricane Fran, even though I lived in the landlocked city of Raleigh, North Carolina. It was quite the experience and caught me completely off guard.


Then I realized I already wrote about it last year when I talked about The Wrath of Mother Nature.

Hurricanes aren’t that unusual in North Carolina. After Florida, it’s the state most likely to get hit by a hurricane. The simple reason? The geography. North Carolina juts out into the Atlantic just a little further than the surrounding states. They even have a hockey team named Hurricanes.

But Hurricane Fran was quite unusual because it was such a fast-moving storm that it made landfall and continued on the land with hurricane-force winds. Coupled with soaked ground from days of rain, the high winds essentially uprooted trees all over the city. It literally took over a year to clean up from the mess.

Since then, I’ve moved from North Carolina to my home state of Maryland. Sure, Maryland is graced by the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, the Patuxent River, the Pataspco and Susquehanna Rivers, but it’s not a hot bed of hurricane activity.

However, Hurricane Sandy has some other plans.

hurricane Sandy

There’s a pretty good chance that by the time this post goes live, I’ll be surviving yet another hurricane, but probably without power and, most importantly, without internet.

In 1996, during Hurricane Fran, the most devastating thing I personally suffered was being without cable TV, phone, and power, of course. We didn’t have those things called cell phones. I actually ended up driving to a shopping center, found a working pay phone, and used a calling card to call my sister out of state.

pay phone

Sounds like ancient history, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m way more grown up and I have a house, a family, and three furry creatures to protect. And I have a lot more to lose… like power, internet, and cell phone service.

Early on Sunday, we had a two hour power outage. It seemed almost like a joke. The sky was relatively clear and we were still trying to figure out what the forecast would be. Certainly no visible signs of a hurricane. But I think it was just the warning I needed.

Suddenly, I was forced to make breakfast in the dark without power.

Actually, it wasn’t that hard. We simply ate cereal. But I couldn’t get to my drinking water from the fridge. And I couldn’t heat my tea kettle. And could I still flush the toilet? Would I have hot water? I had plenty of bread but did I have anything to put on that bread?

So I headed to the lesser-used grocery store in town and stocked up with everything I thought I would need to survive a hurricane.

  • Bananas and apples
  • All-natural peanut butter that doesn’t require refrigeration (I normally love my Smucker’s)
  • Ready-to-eat soup, like Campbell’s Chunky Soup
  • Cup o’ Noodles (10 of them!)
  • Two cases of bottled water
  • A value-sized can of store brand mini ravioli
  • Beenie Weenies (for protein)
  • Dog chow
  • Juice boxes
  • 12 rolls of paper towels
  • Extra Halloween candy

Those last two items aren’t directly related to the hurricane. We were just out of paper towels. And, well, chocolate.

I’ve never appreciated processed food more than when I was looking for food that was simple to prepare and was non-perishable. And to be honest, I really miss eating Cup o’ Noodles.

So now I sit and wait. I’m prepared to lose power. I’m just not prepared to be cut off from the world. So if I lose power and, in turn, lose internet, please think of me while I’m off doing something like reading a book.

Actually, that sounds kind of relaxing. And my Kindle is fully charged.

  • Dana

    My neighbors in Raleigh talked about Fran every time a storm threatened the city. So much, actually, that Fran is all I’ve been thinking about the past few days as the forecasters warned about Sandy. We’re in Virginia now, surrounded by gigantic trees, and I can’t help but think of all the stories of downed trees I was regaled with (terrified by?) by my Raleigh friends. Here’s hoping you make it through this one unscathed. Us too.

  • Anna Hettick

    Being in Oklahoma I have to worry about tornadoes not hurricanes. Still I know they are scary and of course being without power (ie: internet) is never ever fun. Stay safe!! I’ll be thinking of you!! :)

  • Stephanie Moram

    Be safe! We will only feel the effects of the storm. I don’t think anything will really happen here except some wind and rain, but nothing like NYC and you guys will get! Thinking of you, and your two boys!

  • From Tracie

    All that extra book reading time is awesome.

    But I do so love my air conditioning.

    Stay safe!

  • shellthings

    Sandy didn’t do much down here- ironic, isn’t it? Though I was flooded out of my place less than 2 months after I first moved down here back in 99. It was shocking.

  • Rose’s Daughter

    Stay safe!!!