It’s Saturday, and we’re just starting to feel the edge of Hurricane Irene where I live, north of New York City. It’s raining steadily, but the violent winds and heavy rain haven’t arrived yet. I keep hoping one of the TV stations will show “Key Largo,” my favorite hurricane movie. I live on high ground, so the real dangers for me are power outages and flooded roads. Here’s hoping I don’t have to live on the canned tuna and cereal bars I bought!
Hurricanes have a different sense of menace than thunderstorms or tornados. Tornados are the most frightening to me because I grew up with them in Tennessee. When the sky turns that eerie green you know you have only moments to take cover. The destruction a tornado wreaks is so random it seems malevolent. Hurricanes can be enormously destructive and frightening in their threat, as we all know from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. This will be the first time I have lived in the projected path of one, so I am hoping all the planning and evacuations will prevent any casualties.
The common thunderstorm has its own scary elements. Lightning and thunder rolling across the horizon, day turning suddently into night, driving sheets of rain–a strong storm is the stuff of old horror movies when you’re safe and dry inside. But how about when you’re alone in a car at night? Not so fun!
When I first learned to drive I was often alone on dark country roads at night, coming home from some after school function or club. It seemed to me that whenever the road was darkest, the radio d.j. played “Riders On the Storm.” “There’s a killer on the road/his brain is squirming like a toad.” No thanks to the Doors that I didn’t wreck the car, as I sped up to get home and into the light.