Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inspiration for Hurricane Crimes by Chrys Fey

In 2004, Hurricane Frances, with her brothers Charley and Ivan, attacked Florida one right after the other. These storms, especially Frances inspired my story, HURRICANE CRIMES. In this post, I recall my experiences with a Category 4 hurricane.


As Hurricane Frances inched her way to the Florida coast, a vast net of gray clouds overtook the sky. Standing on my driveway, with my hair and skirt blowing in the wind and my head tipped back, I could see the circular motion of the clouds. The wind picked up and I watched a neighbor’s forgotten trashcan go rolling down the road.

For the rest of the day, I watched Dinotopia and played dominos while I waited for the hurricane to hit. The TV would go in and out, and I remember cheering when it fought back to life. That night, the winds became so intense that the transformer in my backyard started sparking. Glowing embers rained down into the darkness below. I eyed the transformer like a ticking time bomb. Not long later, it popped with a blast of yellowish-blue light and a sheet of darkness draped over my house.

While I was sleeping, rain dropped in heavy ribbons onto the roof. Wind slammed into the boards covering the windows next to my bed, prying me out of my sleep several times, and I was always relieved to see the walls were still standing around me.

When I woke in the morning, Hurricane Frances was gone. In the light of day, which was obscured by layers of clouds, I found my neighbor’s fence flat on the ground, the roof over my porch torn, and my garage door crumpled.
I spent a week with my family without power. The temperature was high, but Hurricane Frances left behind a nice breeze. To battle the heat, I dragged my mattress to the middle of the living room and slept with all the doors and windows open to create cross-ventilation.

Days after the storm passed, my sisters and I ventured into the city where we heard FEMA was handing out supplies. Driving down deserted roads was surreal. We didn’t pass a single car on our way into the city. All the lights were down and uniformed soldiers stood at busy intersections to navigate the few cars toward the relief stations. We received MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) for my whole family to last a few days.

After several days, the wait for our power to be restored became unbearable. Finally, Florida Power and Light workers came to our aid almost a week after the power went out. The sun had retreated down the sky by the time the lights winked on again.

And that was the end of Hurricane Frances’ reign. She caused 49 deaths, 12 billion dollars worth of damage, and wide-spread flooding throughout Florida and North Carolina. But she also inspired a writer.

Chrys Fey

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