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Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Have you ever lived through a disaster?

Asked by Skaggfacemutt (9717 points ) October 17th, 2012

I don’t mean hearing about it on the news, but actually being involved in it. An earthquake, snowstorm, flash flood, hurricane, tornado? What was your experience?

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22 Answers

Seek's avatar

Sure. Several tropical storms and at least two hurricanes. A tornado hit my school once. Took the roof off the gym.

It’s pretty much expected where I live. The last tropical storm hit and was over before I even found out about it. I was all “Man, we’re having a lot of rain lately”, and my friend says “Yeah, we got hit by a tropical storm yesterday.” Oh.

ruwilliams's avatar

I lived in japan for 7 years and when I was small there were some earthquakes. We lived in a apartment in the 3. floor so it was quite shaking and some things were falling out but because I was a small kid that time I thought it was kind of a cool adventure. In japan you often just hide under a table so that nothing falls onto your head and wait until it’s over. Some others just run out of their houses and wait outside.
The earthquakes that time weren’t as great as the disaster in fukushima one year ago but lots of people do panic. I personally thought it was really exciting. Yeah, we kids were small adventurer.

zenvelo's avatar

23 years ago this afternoon at 5:11 p.m. I lived through the Loma Prieta earthquake. I was very lucky, little damage, but my work and people I worked with were severely damaged. My business flew teams of us to other cities to continue business while things got cleaned up in San Francisco.

I was lucky that no one I knew was killed.

filmfann's avatar

Yes. Today is Oct.17, 2012, and is the 23rd anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the one that interrupted the San Francisco World Series.
I was in Oakland when it hit. The building next to me lost an enormous amount of brick onto the street. That night, I was at the collapse of the freeway supplying lights and power to the rescue crews.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Nothing too serious, but scary at the time. It was Hurricane Elvis here in Memphis. I was on the interstate heading to work when the storm hit. Torrential rain and 100mph winds brought most drivers to a halt. By that time, I was shaking uncontrollably. The next exit was a mass of felled trees and powerlines. The street wasn’t visible due to the debris.

When it was all said and done, only 11 of 40+ grids still had power. Some took up to two weeks to regain electricity. The immediate death toll wasn’t horrific, but there were others who died due to the lack of power and extreme heat of July in the south.

I cannot fathom what it would be like to go through a more serious disaster.

tom_g's avatar

The Maine earthquake last night, felt here in Massachusetts

gailcalled's avatar

@tom_g: Where in MA?

Sunny2's avatar

I was also there during the Loma Prieta earthquake. I was in a grocery store and watched coffee cans jumping off the selves. We were asked to leave the store and did, but many of us hadn’t paid for our groceries and we calmly waited until they opened the doors again to pay up. We didn’t find out until later how much damage was done in the area.
I also was part of one smaller chorus (the Ethiopian prisoners) in the opera Aida at the San Francisco Opera House. There had been extensive damage in the building and in the room we had for costumes and dressing, There were spaces where you could look through the inner wall to the outside wall and then to the outside. There were aftershocks throughout the following weeks, but we just took it in stride.

Coloma's avatar

Only the emotional disaster of my dysfunctional marriage. Thank god the natural disaster of my ex’s existence is now in another womans trauma unit. lol

tom_g's avatar

@gailcalled – The earthquake happened near Portland, ME, but it caused my house to shake for a few seconds. I’m 30 min north of Boston.

@filmfann – nice

CWOTUS's avatar

The Bush Administration and the Obama Administration. Yeah, I’d say so.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In 1967 a tornado went down our street one morning and tossed our family’s volkswagen van a block away. Missed our house.
1969 Santa Rosa, California earthquake.
1971 Los Angeles earthquake.
Been brushed by a few hurricanes, but never taken a direct hit.

Coloma's avatar

I have had a few wildfire scares in my hills but, so far, so good. I haven’t been burned out yet. We are almost out of the woods, for this season, but not until the first heavy rains come which is still some weeks away most likely.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I was curious, so looked up the Loma Prieta earthquake to see when/where. I don’t remember ever hearing about it before. Sounds pretty wild!

zenvelo's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt It happened right before the start of Game 3 of the World Series at Candlestick Park between the SF Giants and the Oakland A’s. It was on national TV.

A double decker freeway collapsed on itself. And it had been called the “Bay Bridge Series” but the Bay Bridge broke, collapsing one deck onto another.

SuperMouse's avatar

The 1971 Symlar earthquake shook me out of my bed! I was a little girl at the time and remember being pretty freaked out. My grandparents and aunt and uncle had to stay at our house for a while afterward because of concerns that the San Fernando dam was going to burst and flood their houses.

I also lived through the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Our condo shook pretty violently; our fish tank lost half of its water, pictures flew across the room, the tv and dressers fell, we didn’t have power for a couple of days and couldn’t drink the water for a week.

I have also experienced tons of forest fires, floods galore, and a couple of tornadoes.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@SuperMouse Yes. That was the one. I was crashing in a sleeping bag on the floor of a friend’s living room with a wall of big picture windows overlooking the valley. This was in one of those cantilevered homes on a hillside up near Topanga. It rocked like hell and I ended up near one of the windows. After the Santa Rosa earthquake, I knew exactly what it was as soon as I popped to my feet. I looked out over the valley crowded with buildings and little puffs of white smoke began billowing up here and there. I was seeing buildings going down in the Valley. I left that morning on my motorcycle like a bat out of hell for SF on I-5 instead of Hwy 1 as usual for fear that 1 was chopped to bits, even though I had to ride near the epicenter. Very weird experience.

cookieman's avatar

Just the “Blizzard of ‘78” here in Boston. I know it was a big deal and we were buried for days; pipes froze, power was lost — but I was only seven and had a blast. It was a winter wonderland from my perspective.

Symbeline's avatar

In 1997 in Winnipeg there was a huge flood that took a lot of homes. It happened in the Spring, which followed the biggest Winter I’ve ever seen. It was pretty crazy, in some streets it was impossible to walk through them. Too much snow.
But the flood was hell and did a lot of damage. My school went on a trip to go help sandbag some houses, to attempt and protect them from the rivers. (Winnipeg has two major rivers) It sucked because watching the news like a week later, I found out that all our efforts were for nothing, the one house our group tried to help got completely flooded and destroyed.

The flood made most of its damage on the outskirts of Winnipeg and surrounding cities. I lived in the middle of the city, in an area situated right between the two rivers, before they connect as one some miles away. But it wasn’t touched, despite its location. Only a few basements got flooded because of drains backing up. But the rivers swelled so bad that it did affect a lot of the buildings and houses that are on the edge of it. The whole city was pretty much saved by an artificial floodway, otherwise I think it would have been fucked.

Wiki has an entry on this flood if you wanna read about it.

geeky_mama's avatar

I lived through the Kobe (aka Great Hanshin) Earthquake on Tuesday, January 17, 1995, at 05:46am local time. My dresser fell on me as I slept and as a result my alarm clock (which had been on top of the dresser) got turned off as it smashed to the tatami floor. I overslept (because the alarm didn’t go off, and apparently I rolled away from the dresser and kept sleeping…I must have been really tired) and rushed off to work without turning on the TV or radio (so I hadn’t seen any news).
By the time I got to work there were a steady series increasingly panicked faxes from my family in the US (because phone lines were not working, but surprisingly my family could get thru via Fax) waiting for me. I spent the rest of the day horrified, glued to the TV news—which showed people literally burning alive and waving for help/rescue and trying to find out how my friends living in Kobe city / outlying islands near Kobe were doing. (One on Rokko Island was killed.)

I have also lived through two (separate) tornadoes that damaged our home (two separate homes) severely. One blew off part of our roof and knocked down/damaged our wood fence—but we were super fortunate because the same tornado completely decimated about a dozen homes within a block of us. (About 4 of them were completely wiped away—nothing left but the foundation/basement.) The other also scored us a totally new roof – but that was more because of the hail that proceeded the tornado.

And, most recently I had a near miss. I drove home over the 35W bridge just hours before it’s collapse on August 1, 2007. Like with the Kobe earthquake I went home and was glued to the TV. I held my babies (I’d left work early to pick my kids up from daycare because my husband was out of town) curled on my bed and sobbed through all the news coverage thinking how grateful I was I hadn’t worked late that day…until the kids got hungry for dinner and were tired of seeing mommy cry and stare at the TV.

JLeslie's avatar

Several hurricanes. Saying I lived through it makes it sound like tons of people died around me, which was not the case, but parts of the area had devastation. I went through Andrew, but I was about 50 miles north of the worst of it. Still we had very high winds, electricity out everywhere, trees downed, curfews in place. Many many many people lost their homes in that storm, and were stranded. I don’t remember the count, but I am pretty sure fewer than 100 people died in that crazy violent storm.

In Wilma I had damage to the screen around my patio and pool, whole thing caved in and ripped apart, it was a real mess.

Those are just two, I think I have been through about 7? Prep for the hurricanes is kind of a big deal. We never know exactly where the eye will hit, so we prepare as though it is going to be right over our heads. Fill the cars with gas, have cash on hand, water, packaged foods, stop up the bath tubs full, working flashlights and a battery operated radio, put up hurricane shutters if you have them, cut down any coconuts on the trees, or anything that can easily become a flying object, bring all lawn chairs inside, and if you live close to the shore, probably have to evacuate. Then you wait, wait wait, for the thing to come. During the worst part of the storm you hear everything banging around outside, it can sound anywhere from very high winds with or without rain, to a freight train, depending how strong the winds are. Finally after it is over, you still have to wait if your area was hit hard, or if there is a lot of standing water, etc. Dusk curfew for cities with big power outages.

Most hurricanes in FL in the last 20 years have very few deaths, and some of the deaths actually happen after the storm, not during it.

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