Friday, September 5, 2014

We Survived Two Hurricanes - Ten Years Later

First off, thank you all for remembering sweet Ivy's Gotcha Day.  Mom completely forgot and wondered why all the new comments were on her post from last week.

Mom has had the 'blahs' for a bit now.  Nothing major, just feeling down.  Not posting or doing much Facebook even.  She has not been very motivated in her photography either - so no new photos of us.  Boo to her.  We have a mind to fire her.

An earlier pic of our shelter - Pop added a wing on to the left side with a under story for food station and an upper level with three sides - where ewe rode out the hurricanes.

Since we don't have any great pics of us for our post, we are going to tell you the story of our brush with Hurricanes Ivan and Frances back in 2004. It happened 10 years ago on September 5.  At the time we lived in a high valley in the mountains with rivers and creek all around us. There were still three of us feral cats living outdoors then - me, (Ivy), Big Guy and Nick.  We had a wood shelter Pop made from an old kitchen counter with an covered upper level with one side open toward the house as well as an indoor lower level.  Mom often wondered what she would do if we ever had a bad hurricane come through while we lived outside and sure enough, it happened that year.

Looking from our side yard to the river behind the trees.

We had a wet summer with a smaller hurricane coming through with lots of rain.  Then Hurricane Frances descended on us a week later, at night, dropping 18 to 20 inches more of rain.  We were not expecting this much rain and everything was super saturated but otherwise fine.  Us cats rode it out in the shelter on the upper level. We were very scared but stayed where we were, just watching the blowing rain and wind.  Mom kept and eye on us with her search light, shining on us from the bedroom window all through the night. It was wet and soggy the next day but nothing was damaged, even though the river went up quite a bit.

Looking out to the bridge over the river and the main road.

Then Hurricane Ivan was expected to take the same path one week later.  This was not good.   The beans owned a corner lot with the river  just on the other side of the road running next to us. Many years ago they had a horrific flood back in the 1940's and the church on this side street facing the river was carried quite a ways downstream.  All three of us cats went about our daily routine but Mom was really worried about us this time as the creek ran  behind our shelter on the other side of the trees and at a 90 degree angle to that creek was a river just across the road.  We could be in serious trouble.

As the water went down, the ridge was visible.

All three of us were in the shelter and Mom and Pop had some of the older cats  inside with them. No one was told to evacuate since the storm wasn't due until the next day.  Darkness fell and the rain began that night..  Power went out which made it difficult to see where the water was.  Mom got out the search light and kept checking on us and the river.  This time the river went well over the banks and into our yard, covering the bridge out to the main road.  The fire trucks were on the other side of the bridge directing traffic away from our neighborhood and telling us to stay put as it was too late now to leave.

Looking out to Peel's shop and Dot's house  under the trees on the left.

The main brunt of this last hurricane was the rain even though it was somewhat windy. Pop had a rain gauge on the back deck but it blew off sometime during the night - we had already gotten over 10 inches of rain at that point!  The beans stayed up all night keeping an eye on the river, making sure the water didn't come into the house.  Mom began chanting a Sanskrit mantra with the intent to keep all of us cats and humans safe.  She chanted non stop all night long.

Our neighbor Dot was an elderly woman who lived alone with her toy poodle Peaches.  Dot's house was just a few feet from the river across the road and we could see the water was past her house.  She had called for help but no one could safely get to her.  The water was up to her knees inside the house. She was told to stay put and help would get to her when it was light out. What a scary night she had but she was a tough lady! Another neighbor Peel who rescued cats, had a shop next to Dot.  Mom was also keeping an eye on her place as the cats lived in the shop.  It was a long frightening night for all of us.

The wind howled and the rain just kept pouring down.. At day break, as the rain let up,  Mom and Pop put on their rain gear and came out to see how things were looking.  The river was going down a bit.  Dot had been rescued with her dog but the house was a mess.  Peel's shop was built a few feet off the ground and that saved it. The river never came into her place but her garden was ruined and picket fences were down with all sorts of debris carried by the river in her yard.  Mom's car had been parked in front of the house and had water inside, up to the seats.  All our neighbors were out inspecting the damage and  one even caught a trout with his bare hands in the water on the road from the river.


Mom waded out to us and miraculously the creek behind the cat shelter had overflowed away from us into the yard behind.  Our yard was full of water but our little shelter was like an island, high and dry and all of us OK!  Mom was so relieved and overjoyed to see us when she came out with a bowl of kibble.  The beans  lost their garden and lots of bunny rabbits drowned with the water rising so high and so fast.  We didn't see rabbits in our yard for years after.

Linville Fallls before

So many hiking trials in the mountains were washed away and were closed off for months after to be repaired.  We lived a few miles from Linville Falls and in normal days the falls are pretty impressive.  After the storms, the water roared over the falls!!!  Even though Mom loves the water in all forms, she never, I mean never wanted to have water near or on our property again after going through this.  Anybody else have a bad storm story to share?

Linville Falls - after


meowmeowmans said...

Wow, what an amazing account of how you survived those hurricanes! What a miracle that your shelter was like an island fortress. And your neighbor catching the trout in huis bare hands ... whoa!

We hope you all have a great weekend, especially Mom Cheri.

Katnip Lounge said...


That's a heckuva story...scary, too.

Tell your Mom to take care of herself--with your Pop's surgery there's gonna be a period of healing and adjustment for BOTH of them. It's one of those "life things".

Summer at said...

How frightening - what a thing to have lived through! You kitties were very lucky, and so were your humans. My human loves creeks and streams, but she has never wanted to live near one, for this very reason.

Fuzzy Tales said...

Wow, extremely frightening! We're glad you all weathered those hurricanes without loss of life, and we hope that you and your beans never have to go through that again.

Our human, for all her years in Halifax, missed any bona fide hurricanes. Hurricane Juan was after she moved here. However, she did go through Ice Storm '98, which was massively destructive in this area (areas west, like Toronto, were untouched, but they got hit this past winter with another ice storm -- we had the ice storm worse here, but with so many old trees gone from the '98 storm, we didn't have much damage).

Anyway, we hope that Mother Nature remains kind to us all, because she sure is pounding many areas, globally, these days.

Mr Puddy said...

I have one but not a big storm like you. Just a little one because me and my fameowly live not far from city. But it's enough to break down the tree.
We hear the wind, in the morning one of plum tree in the front of our street falls to the car window of our neighbour. But when I was investigated. Geeee !! Actually the branch didn't break by the wind but human ! Someone cut it and lean the tree branch over the car. The car wasn't damage. Only a shock when the owner of the car saw it !
That's my story :)

Happy belated gotcha day, Ivy mom too , forgot my birthday ... Human ! I hope you got the whole week celebrate. Happy weekend :)

Alastriona, The Cats and Dogs said...

Oh my how very scary. We have been very lucky where we live.

Brian's Home Blog said...

Those storms are so darn scary and can do some much damage to so many.

Hannah and Lucy said...

That must have been so frightening for you all and thank goodness you all came through safely.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

That sounds very scary. I am glad you all got through it without any injuries or worse.

The Swiss Cats said...

What an amazing experience ! We never lived it, but it looks awfully frightening ! You have been very lucky ! Purrs

Mariodacat said...

OMG - we don't get hurricanes up here - just blizzards! he he - that must have been so scary for all of you. Your peeps are very special because they kept watch over you and worried about you when they them selves might have had severe problems. So glad everyone is okay.

Cathy Keisha said...

Thank Ceiling Cat everybuddy was safe and sound! That would be like our having Sandy twice. Eek.

The Island Cats said...

Wow, that was something! We're glad you all made it through those storms...and we hope it never happens again.

We wanna wish Ivy a belated Happy Gotcha Day!

Ms. Phoebe said...

Thank Bastet you all were okay in your little shelter, your beans obviously love and care for you very much. What a lucky family you are to survive such scary experiences!

Cats Herd You said...

What a terrible experience for all of you. The head peep remembers that year well. We were hit with three hurricanes in six weeks: Charley, Frances, and then Jeanne. Friday the 13th of August, the head peep hid in the bathroom with the previous generation of cats (we are all too young to remember this!) while it sounded like someone tried to break in the door as Charley roared through, still hurricane strength so far inland. Charley was the strongest storm to hit the US since Andrew at that time, and what a mess! The head peep drove to work the next Monday morning and it was eerie how dark it was along the highway, like a rural road, only it was traveling through heavily populated areas that still didn't have power. Then, September 5, a hurricane hit Florida from the other direction and went over us. All of the somewhat-cleaned-up things were scattered everywhere again, tarps ripped off of roofs, the works. Then, at the end of September came Jeanne. It wasn't as strong, but it also wasn't moving very fast, and the area was in tropical storm conditions for 36 hours. Areas that hadn't flooded in 100 years were covered with water by the end of that. The head peep bought our current house just after that and used the length of time that the power was out during the hurricanes and the lack of flooding as a benchmark for the purchase.

At the time, everyone in Florida were so busy cleaning up that we never really saw the impact these storms had further up in the country, so the head peep found your post especially interesting. Thanks for sharing it with us.

(Whew, long comment for our "too busy to comment on anyone's blog" day!)

da tabbies o trout towne said...

guys...veree happee everee one made it thru de storms aye oh kay....we haz never eggspeerenced a hurricane N we can say thanx bee ta God for it...

anda happee be lated gotcha day two ewe ivy; hope yur day wuz fun filled...hope ya getted lotz oh pizza pie...and heerz two a yeer ahead filled with happee nezz & health ♥♥♥

Just Mags said...

We hope sweet Ivy had a nice "Gotcha Day". And we are real happy to hear you all survived those hurricanes, those things have to be really scary. Thank you so much for thinking of us during this sad time of having to say goodbye to our sweet Patches. Hugs and nose kisses

Connie - Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

so glad everyone was okay.

Btw, I've heard that cat moms run on purrs.. maybe if you all climbed on top of her and purr like crazy she'll start to feel a little better..



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