W

Have you ever experienced a natural disaster?

9 Answers
Just curious.
B

I've experienced a few natural disasters -- depending on the definition of "experienced." I was home one morning when a tornado struck my house, removing much of my roof, transplanting the neighbor's entire metal shed into my pasture, and causing all sorts of damage. Tornados aren't common here -- I guess I'm just lucky, because a tornado removed the roof of my childhood home when I was a small child (although we were on vacation at the time). That first tornado caused significant damage not just to our home but throughout the area; the Red Cross set up a shelter at my grade school. The tornado that hit when I was at home focused primarily on my house, which was even featured on the news that night.

The childhood tornado was much more devastating but through my childish eyes I saw only the fascinating and exciting aspects -- the free doughnuts at the shelter; the power lines down across our horse corral; the piece of straw that went through our shed's side like a needle. My brother and I played in the water from the flooding and the whole neighborhood came together in a most memorable way.

As an adult, there wasn't any excitement about THAT tornado -- just an unforgettable feeling as the tension in the air grew palpable and then the whirring noise as I was in the center of the tornado, a vibration accompanied by shrieking noises and the distinctive sound of shingles being ripped from the roof. That, too, was memorable.

I've also been in many, many floods. Unlike tornados, floods do happen frequently here. I remember as a child how whenever the strong monsoon rains would hit, my dad would rush outside with a shovel and start scooping out drainage channels so our house wouldn't flood. The washes surrounding our area would run with whitecaps -- a deafening noise, sometimes, when they really got flowing. Although people today would be aghast at doing this, I still recall being a kid and watching my mom roll up her pants legs and walk out through a flooded crossing to see how deep it was before we'd try driving through.

Having been in law enforcement for over 20 years, I was a pretty active participant in the aftermath of natural disasters, from microbursts to floods to wildland fires. I handled evacuations for what was, at the time, the state's largest wildland fire -- and I'll never forget watching the flames suddenly crest the ridge behind the house I was evacuating. The ashes covered me and me car and the heat of the flames actually melted the insignia decals off some of the patrol cars as we drove out through roadways bordered by fire on both sides.

Yes, I've experienced a few natural disasters! I don't care for violent storms anymore as a result -- I've been out in too many of them during dangerous lightning, and I've seen too much of the damage in the immediate aftermath. As for floods, I'm a bit more adventurous -- but the wash I've crossed dozens of times when flooded has already claimed at least three victims, and will likely claim many more.

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B

Yes--a flood, near the end of a long, hot summer, when I was a child. I didn't know enough to be as frightened as I would be today, but it was one of biblical proportions. It rained, torrential rains, for a week, and several towns fell victim to the rivers that ran through them. At least a dozen towns, and one major city, suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Over eighty lives were lost. Family pets and farm animals were swept away by the hundreds.

Our view was limited to our street, but we could see cars, buildings and trees being uprooted by the waters, and floating down the street. I watched as our detached garage literally fell off it's foundation with the water that undermined it. After two days, anyone in low areas had to be evacuated to higher ground, not knowing whether our homes would be there when it was safe to return. When we were evacuated, our cellar had almost filled with water to the first floor.

People that many residents didn't even know opened their homes on hills to evacuees--it was absolute chaos. Fire trucks, and army vehicles helped bring people to safety; Navy and Coast Guard units were rescuing people from their roofs. As we were leaving our house, we could already see so much devastation throughout the rest of the town, just on the second day. Roads looked like rivers, and there were actually people riding in boats and on rafts down these roads. When we were safe in a house on a hill, with loads of other people, residents dug transistor radios out of their attics, as there was no power. The Red Cross saved lives, coming through with water, food and supplies, which firemen and army reservists delivered.

Going home was worse than leaving it had been. Our house was still intact, but the cellar had to be pumped, and a tree removed from the roof. This was minor, in comparison to other devastation. The town, and most of our street, looked like something from the aftermath of a war. A factory around the corner from our street, which employed a good half of the adults in our small town, was completely destroyed; it had been swept into the river that ran behind it. Firemen, police, and army reservists were working around the clock in every town to pump cellars, replace wiring, perform safety checks on residences, and clear away cars, buildings, trees, and everything else, that had been tossed everywhere. Firemen and army reservist units also came from other states to join in the effort. The schools did not open as planned the first week of September, but the gyms were open, where people could get supplies from the Red Cross, and receive tetanus shots from medical personnel.

After the flood, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed many dams throughout areas that had been affected, and would certainly be endangered if another flood ever occurred. We were assured that no matter how much it ever rained, this could never happen again. Fortunately, the dams have never been put to the test.

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I

I vividly remember a night of many tornadoes hitting our area on Palm Sunday 30+years ago. I was home alone and it was storming. My father and I loved to watch the lightning and I foolishly went into our backyard and climbed up on a privacy fence to get a good view of the storms coming across the corn field behind our house. Just as I got to the top, lightning struck and there were 3 funnel clouds moving horizontally across the field. I've never seen anything so scary and powerful before or since. I still like to watch the storms but if the sky turns green or our emergency notification says to go to the basement, I grabb the animals and go. After that night, there were many homeless people, their homes destroyed, pets gone and people injured. I was lucky and so were my parents that were on their way home following the devastation, worried that I may be hurt. It was a happy reunion for sure.

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I

I've experienced about 4 major hurricanes in south florida. You don't realize how lucky you really are, until you have to live in 95 degree temperatures with no running water or electricity! You basically feel like you're living in a war zone. The police put out curfews so you can't leave your home. You can't drive because there are dangerous power lines down, and the roads are filled with vegetation. You can't shower or flush the toilet. All you can do is pray! People band together and cook what they have left on a grill. It's a horrible thing to go through, but it certainly humbles you to the fact that we have so much!

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W

Hurricane Sandy was the only horrible natural disaster I experienced. I live in New York, and the city is not very prone to natural disasters compared to Japan with their frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. Hurricane Sandy didn't effect me personally, but I know many people who did, and I have to consider it a natural disaster. I also felt a minor earthquake here in New York, just a little rumble for about 5 or 10 seconds which felt very odd since I have never felt one before.

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P

Nothing too devastating, but I have lived through my share of hurricanes and tropical storms on the east coast. Hurricane Juan in 2003 was the worst.
I have been living on the West Coast for the last 5 years. Here they are expecting the worst of the worst of earthquakes. "The big one" as it is referred to. Of all of the major earthquakes occurring in other parts of the globe, we have been lucky that the chain reaction hasn't yet extended to our part.

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S

I have been through hurricanes the past two years. Hurricane Sandy was the worst by far in my area. There was a lot of flooding and it completely flooded the basement of my building. After the storm passed there were trees broken and cars flipped over onto the sidewalks. Pretty surreal for me since I never been through anything like it before.

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J

I've never faced any natural disasters, and I hope I never do. I have however, had a few tornados in my area that never really did much damage. All they ever did was trim some trees and roof shingles, that's about it. None of the tornados ever affected me though.

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P

Yes just last night actually a 5.3 earthquake followed by a little more then 30 aftershocks

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