Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Storms & Other Natural Disasters

Since the THIS SUMMER STORM anthology is all about storms, I began thinking about all the different storms and natural disasters I’ve lived through. Now, my mind is imagining ways to use all of these experiences in a book.

I grew up with tornadoes in Illinois and am still terrified of them today. The second a tornado warning was posted, I cleaned out the closet under the basement stairs to fit my nine family members. While other kids were playing in puddles, I was shaking under the stairs. My brothers and sisters would make fun of me.
Moving to California as a teen, I had to deal with earthquakes. No warnings or alarms. Just a sudden jolt in the ground and the immediate dash for cover. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1989 World Series earthquake where the Bay Bridge collapsed. I was working at the mall when the shaking started. I dove toward an interior wall for cover. Light fixtures fell, the floor cracked, and a jewelry store window shattered. The historic town I lived in was destroyed. 
Traveling in Japan, I experienced a typhoon. The rain was coming down sideways and the wind was hurricane force.
Speaking of hurricanes, I was in Mexico when Hurricane Emily struck. For days management would give reports of the hurricane’s approach. The storm was like a stalker. I was evacuated to a convention center. Just me and a thousand of my closest friends with no electricity and no air conditioning through an entire night.  Each person got enough space to sit, but not lay down. After the hurricane passed, we returned to the resort to find it had been destroyed. Roofs ripped off buildings. Pools filled with black water and debris. The beach completely washed away.
This past winter I was having dinner at the top of a Colorado mountain, taking two different gondolas to get there. A surprise snow storm came in with gale force winds while I ate. Heading down, the winds were so strong they had to stop the gondola several times. For several minutes. Sitting in the carriage hanging by a thin wire in the sky, I rocked back and forth like a carnival ride over a dark abyss. A freezing dark abyss.  When I arrived at the halfway point, they directed me to a closed restaurant for shelter to wait for the wind and snow to die down. Eventually, I was taken off the mountain by snow cat.
One storm or natural disaster I haven’t experienced is an avalanche. I live in Colorado now so my eyes are always searching the mountain tops…watching and waiting.
What are some of your storm and natural disaster stories?
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