PostOpal Retrograde.

Tuesday, October 17th, 1995

As I write this, up to 170,000 homes in Georgia, most of them in Atlanta, are still without power after Hurricane Opal–which was downgraded to a tropical storm only as it struck the west suburbs of our town–blew by Wednesday night. Yes, it is unusual for a hurricane to make it this far inland…Atlanta is hundreds of miles from the coast, and what we usually get when a hurricane messes up the gulf or the Atlantic coast is a day or two of rain with a faint scent of the seashore. This time we got two days of rain on Monday and Tuesday–seven to ten inches of rain, depending on who you listen to–and then we were visited by the remains of the hurricane itself. The winds were spooky, trees everywhere around town bent and snapped, and I felt that strange feeling in the pit of your stomach you feel when the barometric pressure plunges suddenly, dramatically.

Our power finally came back on Friday night around dinnertime, while we dined at a nice restaurant outside of the blacked-out area. Sammy successfully slept through the night as the storm shook our house–and slapped our yard’s remaining trees silly. It’s too early here for many of the leaves to turn to fall hues, so what we get dropped in our yard is green leaves in batches–and acorns, lots of acorns.

Trees seem to be the crux of the problem. Someone reported that 5000 of them are down in town…that may even be conservative, and after a large oak tree fell through our house in 1991 during high winds, I’m very sympathetic to this new batch of tree-victims–and, of course, I’m very nervous whenever the wind kicks up at all. One end of Hudson Drive is blocked even this morning by a fallen tree–there’s another big one down on Rosedale, the next street to the south. This time, we got off with a large batch of fallen limbs and tree junk in the yard, and, of course, some de-frosted and spoiled food from the refrigerator. Other folks are not nearly as lucky. And further south, in the Pensacola-Fort Walton Beach area, the devastation from Opal is terrible indeed. Total deaths in the southeast: about 17. Total amount of damage: they can’t add it up yet.