The Story Of Hurricane Georges
by Mississippi correspondent Terry HoltzSaturday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm ( day before storm) Help secure parents home by bringing inside all 27 bird feeders, various concrete gnomes, windmills and other pieces of lawn "art."
4:00 pm Return to my rented beach house and gather my electronics and all my valuables to bring inland to parents house.
4:30 pm Realize that I don't own squat and have wasted my life.
Sunday 7:00 AM (Day of Georges) Call from Dad. Wakes me up to help put hard-top on his classic 1957 T-bird. As he tenderly places the dust cover over car, mentions, (as an afterthought) "you can stay here too."
7:15 am Realize that storm won't be here for another 10 hours, thank Dad for the wake-up call and decide to head back to beach house for some sleep.
7:20 As I'm leaving, notice Mom, Nancy and baby Charlotte, packing the Cadillac to head inland leaving Dad and me to our fate. Overhear them discussing whether "room service will be any good."
10:00 am Wake to the sound of police bullhorn, something about "mandatory evacuation." But decide that this probably only applies to tourists and families with small pets.
2:00 pm Leave beach to join Dad a mile inland (but still on the ocean side of the bayou). My brother-in-law stops by to check on us and mentions that his truck barely got through the water covering the causeway. Ronnie, a native Biloxian, oddly declines our invitation to weather the storm with us.
3:00 pm First light winds and rain. Sheriffs car continues to disturb the peace with his loud "mandatory evacuation" suggestion.
7:30 pm Power suddenly goes out, but phone service continues.I remind Dad of his electric power generator, but unfortunately "it's only for emergencies." [Jerry replies that this gasoline-powered generator could not be run indoors due to exhaust, nor outdoors due to the hurricane.]
8:00 pm Dad decides we should sleep "in shifts." He gets the first shift.
10:30 pm After listening to 5 hours of continuous radio warnings to not go outside, I get bored and decide to take a drive. Only at the beach is the weather rough. Wind and rain are surprisingly light with only small branches down.
1:00 AM Monday Wind is picking up with a fair amount of rain. Dad takes over "storm watch" and I get some sleep.
3:00 AM Dad wakes me up saying "We've got a monster outside." We open a door to take a peek and it's like that scene where they open the door in "Poltergeist." The wind is absolutely screaming and the rain stings your face. Flashlights reveal the trees bending and whipping unlike anything I've seen. The sound of trees and branches snapping can occasionally be heard over the roar and the house is surrounded by rising water.
4:00 AM As I'm eating a snack by flashlight, our neighbor who also stayed, calls to tell us that the local volunteer fire department just let him know that there is eight feet of water over the causeway. On the radio we hear that 172 mph winds have been recorded. For the first time, I notice how much my parents dinnerware pattern resembles "The White Star Line's."
Well....to make a long story short, we survived. Where I ended the story was only the halfway mark. My house on the beach didn't get a scratch but a dozen or so houses were completely destroyed, down to a bare slab or pilings. On the eastern most point of Fountainbleau beach, 6 houses out of a dozen where destroyed. My e-mail only came on line this afternoon.