We tracked Ike for days as it stalked the city, getting closer and more intense. The satellite map shows Ike’s path from September 2 through 16, 2008. It pounded Cuba’s spine, stepped back over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and strengthened again.
The wind began picking up that afternoon. One thing about hurricanes: they produce some incredible sunsets.
By nightfall the wind was a constant background moaning that encircled the house. It rose and fell in a singsong chant and gradually built into a constant, mind-numbing shriek. The rain started at 10:30. By 11:15, it was pouring. The beating of hot, liquid sheets, slamming the house and taped-up windows, would have overwhelmed most rock bands. But it couldn’t touch that constant, keening wind.
We stayed outside until past 6:00. My sister puffed like a chimney. I listened to the blessed silence. Just beyond it was a distant hum: the eyewall approached on Ike’s far side, and with it the dirty side of the storm, the one carrying debris-turned-missiles picked up by the sweeping winds. When it got louder, we went inside.
My enjoyment of Ike was well over. But like too many jilted lovers he refused to leave, and we sat griping amidst his unwelcome attentions until 10:30, when it became inarguable that the wind and rain were easing. By noon, Ike was gone.
Our own damage, thankfully, was far less. We had to cut down the leaning oak and it was our roof that took the hit. I personally paid for the upgrade to a more storm-resistant replacement. Next hurricane passes through, I want the excitement to last a little longer than the worry.