Monday, September 15, 2008

A Mighty Storm

Hearing about Hurricane Ike, I can't help thinking about the old folk song Wasn't That A Mighty Storm (James Taylor does a great version of it). Here are the lyrics:

Wasn't that a mighty storm
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning
Say, wasn't that a mighty storm
Blew all the people away

Well, Galveston had a sea wall
Meant to keep the water down
High tide from the ocean
Sent water over Galveston


Yeah, year was 1900
Fifty long years ago
Death came walking on the water that day
Death calls, you gotta go

Now the trumpets,they sounded warning
Said it's time to leave this place
But no one thought about leaving town
Til death stared them in the face


Right then the sea started boiling
A thing that no ship could stand
I thought I heard a captain crying out
Somebody save a drowning man

They had two trains loaded
With people trying to leave town
Tracks gave way to the water now
And all of those people drowned


I said the year was 1900
Fifty long years ago
Death came walking on the water
Death calls, you gotta go

I said Death, your hands are clammy
You got them on my knee
You came and threw a stone at my mother
And now you're coming after me.



The song is about the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. I did a little research and found that this hurricane (GGH--my acronym) was the deadliest hurricane in US history. While Katrina was the costliest, it was only number 3 in terms of lives lost.

In 1900, Galveston had a population of 35,000 and approximately 8000 (12,000 in some estimates) lives were lost to the GGH. Despite warnings issued by weather trackers in Cuba, government officials did not repeat the warnings to Galveston residents. They didn't want to panic anyone. As a result, evacuations were not begun until the hurricane hit. By then it was too late.

But I wonder how many would have chosen to evacuate if given the chance. By estimates I've heard on the news, as high as 40-50 percent of Galveston's current residents chose to ride out the storm despite facing what officials said would be "certain death." I would have been one of the first to leave. Let's see, solid ground or drowning? I'm outta there. (Now a tornado would be another story. I'm a bit fascinated by them.)

While we didn't get any rain here from Hurricane Ike (thank goodness, Ivan was enough!) we sure did get the wind. Our power went out briefly about three times, but the longest was for only a few minutes. Since I'm not a football fan, I was kind of hoping the power and/or the cable would go off for the entire length of the Steeler game. I thought it would be nice for everyone to know that there are other colors besides black and gold. The gorgeous pink clouds and yellow sky last evening were much more interesting than watching a bunch of overgrown juveniles play a game.

Enough about that. So how did everyone else "weather" the storm? Did you get rain? High winds? Power outage?

Oh, and one more thing. If anyone finds a grill cover, I think it might be ours.


Kristine said...

Those winds were wicked last night, for sure. We kept power but lost our phone/Internet connection for about 12 hours. We were one of the lucky ones.

(Oh, and we just saved the grill cover in time before it blew away. I wonder how many other grill covers are out floating around?)

I'm glad I'm not the only one fascinated by tornadoes. But that doesn't mean I'm not terrified of them, as well.

P.S. Great new look for your blog, by the way! Very cool.

Joyce said...

I did find the grill cover, btw. It was stuck in the corner of the deck.

Tornado week on the Weather Channel is one of my favorites. The other is When Weather Changed History. Sad, I know.

Annette said...

We went 65 hours without power. It felt a lot longer. Our local cell tower must have been damaged because my cell phone didn't work for a time. And our phone lines were down ( our yard) for a day.

I'm still trying to get caught up.