Hurricane Dolly-Part 1~South Texas 2008
Fred left to go back to Minnesota after his brother died. He returned just a few hours before the hurricane made landfall, fortunately for me or I don’t think I would have survived it! He had no idea what a hurricane was but he was determined to get us through it safe and sound.
I tried to get him to wait in Dallas as there wasn’t time for him to drive any further…His van and trailer waited in Dallas as he hopped on the last plane coming into McAllen with the closer airport in Brownsville already shut down.
I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the airport or back as the outer bands of the storm were starting to evident that a storm was brewing in the Gulf. According to the radio and TV it would be a few hours but we were certainly already experiencing the force of nature that was coming ashore.
The airport was an hour away in McAllen so I had told Fred to met me outside. I grabbed him from where he was waiting for me out front and sped off quick to grab more chicken for the cats. Walmart had agreed to freeze all I had bought the day before to help in last for the days that would follow the hurricane. We bought bags of ice to also help keep it cold; I was prepared for a week. Fred was shocked when he looked in the back seat of the truck with all the bags of animal food piled high that I had bought in preparation; I knew there might be few supplies when all was said and done; I wasn’t sure what kind of flooding would occur. Actually, I expected a few INCHES but what we got was a few FEET…certainly much more than I had anticipated!
I had a long ditch dug in the barn where the hard rains had flooded in a few weeks before with a sup pump in place to pump out the water into the ditches that surrounded the barns. Fred just stared and rather surprised I had gotten it all done on my own. I located another sup pump that was small and had belonged to Yaro’s mom in case we needed it for another area of the barn and had it waiting for just in case. I had boarded up the open-air windows already and I had written messages to the hurricane following the tradition of preparation and even wrote a note to Fred welcoming him back.
We removed all the garbage to the dumpster, moved the fifth wheel trailer into the barn and the small trailer I had bought for my friends to use shortly after they came to help me the year before. We blocked the front of the barn with the horse trailer and somehow Fred had managed to pull the back barn doors shut. In the many years I had stayed at this property, no one had ever managed to close those doors. It is amazing what you can do with a com-a-long and shear strength to get it done.
We noticed those doors appeared as if they were about to be blown in and took large straps normally used on my big top to secure the door from falling. We ran around that barn all night long with both sup pumps emptying the water from the barn to the drainage ditches.
We were staying inside the main show barn with all the animals; big cats, horses and dogs, all placed on high safe areas. My birds, Justin and other small animals were safely tucked away in the cat trailer protected on the far side of this barn. My rabbit safe inside the pick-up truck.
As the storm progressed we began our work; both of us digging ditches where ever we saw the water trying to creep in. The wind began blowing harder it seemed “we weren’t in Kansas any longer”; the sheets of wood I had nailed in the windows suddenly blew off, parts of the walls coming down around us and the roofs from the outside bathrooms blew off; flying into the roof and walls of the barn. As we continued to work and talking to the animals telling them it’d be fine out of the corner of my eye, I noticed parts of the buildings began to collapse and pointed it out to Fred. We looked up and saw part of the roof gone.
But then came the flood waters OMG! We were moving even faster now. Running the dogs into the horse trailer as the water was rising rather quickly now flooding our safe-haven from the storm, the water now mid calf-What happened to a few inches with the dogs on high ground! As the last dog was moved, the area began filling with even more water! I looked over at the ponies and the miniature horses. There was little Magic, my miniature horse, up to her neck in water; we began loading the ponies and the two miniature horses into the trailer as quickly as possible.
We hadn’t expected any of this from a Cat I hurricane -actually until last minute was considered only a tropical storm but little did we know it shifted and was upgraded-Nightmares do come true.
Really, it wouldn’t have been a problem for a last minute load-up at all except that Little Red (dog) thought the water was great fun and kept jumping out and going for a swim; barking the whole time at whatever animal we were attempting to load other animals. It would have been funny had it not made things a lot more difficult. Funny now but not at the time after the first time he did that.
Here’s some pics of what we went through taken the following day after a long rest from working through the night:
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others -B