General Question

wundayatta's avatar

The worst storm you've ever been caught in?

Asked by wundayatta (58604points) February 11th, 2009

Summer? Winter? What type of weather? What was the danger? What happened?

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31 Answers

Maverick's avatar

I drove through a tornado in Edmonton about 20 years ago. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, but there was a lot of damage. The tornado litterally cut a V through a large John Deer factory on the other side of the street. My girlfriend at the time had all our bags packed the next morning and I’ve never been back.

cheebdragon's avatar

The best thing about living in Arizona was getting to see this every summer.

mzgator's avatar

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The storms were bad, but the aftermath was horrible.

janbb's avatar

@ cheeb – Wow!!

abc123com's avatar

Hurricane Andrew in Miami, unbelievable distruction.

Aethelwine's avatar

I was working 10 miles away from my house when a tornado hit it. It was in June, about ten years ago. My husband was at home with our sons, they were 4 and 6 at the time. I knew that we had a warning, I tried to call him to see if they were ok, he answered but told me he had to go into the closet, he couldn’t talk. He grew up in Illinois, so he was used to tornado warnings. I had never heard him that scared before though. The doors to our builing at work were opening and closing, with rain coming in sideways, so I could only imagine what it was like for my boys at home.

When the storm finally ended, I drove home to find a long line of cars waiting to get into the entrance of our town. You could only enter if you had a drivers license with an address in town. It took an hour waiting in that line. I finally got home to find leaves stuck to the house, windows broken, and a small hole in the roof. No one was injured, but my boys had nightmares for quite some time.

Bluefreedom's avatar

My first marriage. (Seriously)

jessturtle23's avatar

Hurricane Ivan. It scared the shit out of me.

Judi's avatar

It rained one year in Oregon (big surprise?) but this one was really bad and the streets were flooded. I was in the middle of a rained out street when I realized that there were stalled cars all around me and the water was at least 3 feet deep. I gunned it and eventually drove through it. It was the only good thing I remember about that clunker rotary mazda! (this was about 1981)
My brother made the news when his car floated away in Dallas a few years ago.

bythebay's avatar

Hurricane Isabel in 2003 was nightmare. The water was up to our doorstep but we escaped with only minor damage (lost our pier, some shingles and lots of landscaping). Many friends & neighbors suffered devastating losses.

cdwccrn's avatar

Tornados close by- had to gather in the front hall closet multiple times.

90s_kid's avatar

———-One of my favorite places to go is Hampton Beach, New Hampshire where my grandparents own a hotel in the summer. But, it is right near the Great Atlantic, so the storms there are brutal. If you get a storm, you get a STORM. There was one I can remember. I was about eight (?) and it was a Saturday. Saturdays are usually the busy days for hotels, but on rainy days they weren’t. Today must have been an exception because it was pouring. It was during the Seafood Festival in September, so that is probably why. It was sunny in the morning, but then it got darker and darker until eventually it started raining and soon lightning, but not too bad. So, it was about 8:30, dinner time, and we were walking to the restaurant we were going to eat at. [If we drove, we would loose our parking space.] I looked onto the horizon, and I saw it. It was a pitch-BLACK cloud. The blackest black I had ever seen. I pointed it out to my brother and he got scared. Soon, we were at the restaurant. It was old and screaming “Roaring 20’s!” not my style

———-Suddenly, The oldstyle lamps started flickering, and all of a sudden, SDJKFDSUSHIDFG! And like that, the lights went out and everyone screamed. Someone even was screaming “LEAH! LEAH WHERE ARE YOU?!” Well, the generators then came on or something and people still screamed, but less. The waitors said that everything was okay. I am guessing that that was the pitch-black cloud. We walked home in the Thunderstorm, but the rain was not bad, and nor was the temperature (actually pretty warm if you ask me).

———-But that is only the start. I had gotten back to my hotel room, and I watched outside. I enjoyed it actually. My brother was frightened. I soon went to my brother’s hotel room, and went onto the balcony. I let the ocean breeze brush into my hair and felt the smell of the ocean in my nose. But apparently the ocean was angry. My brother watched also, but inside because he was a bit scared. I looked outside. It was bustling on the city near the beach. Car alarms were going off, and skateboards were making noises as skateboarders did tricks. It seemed like the thunderstorm was nothing and didn’t change anything. For God’s sake, the parking people who wave the flags for people to park in there lot for money, they were outside, not even thinking about the rain. I always loved thunderstorms myself, and I was there for a good ten minutes.

———-Then, the wind picked up. The temperature plumeted. It started pouring. The car alarms went away. The skateboarders seemingly disappeared. The parking salesmen went into their kiosks. I was getting drenched, but I didn’t mind. The clothes I were wearing were dirty from dinner. My brother had left, but when he heard the storm pick-up. he came back. CRACK! Lightning. CK…CKIIIIICKCKICKCKCK Another lighning bolt. They were funky colors—Red, Yellow, Green, even purple. Suddenly, I saw one that was a big jolt. It went CRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICKLECRICKELICKLCKCLCK and BAM went the thunder. I was staring right at the lightning bolt. But the thing is, it had struck the Hampton Beach Water Supply Tower. The tower fell a bit. And now, my brother was even outside. We were dazed. Our mouths were open. Mother Nature was not in a happy mood.

———-We went downstairs to tell our aunt. She did not believe us at first, but when she saw it, she was amazed. Ambulances all of a sudden alarmed. So many of them, along with firetrucks. We saw some go by, and saw the flashing lights in the distance, too. I hoped everyone was okay. It was a terrible storm. And it was not done, although that was the worst part.

———-That night, I was in my hotel room sleeping. The storm hadn’t stopped. I could not sleep because of the loud thunder. Then, I saw dawn at some time in the early morning (I was too sleep-deprived to think of looking at the time or anything.). The thunder stopped. That morning, some of the customers said that they were shocked and scared. It was terrible to seem them this way. But, the best part of this day was the day. The sun was bright, no clouds in the sky, and 80degrees. Perfect for me to go surfing. But after my work. In the end, after the Restaurant lost power, someone screaming “LEAH!”, The water tower getting struck, the firetrucks and ambulances, the sleepless night, and the worried customers, it was just a wonderful experience, and it was all behind me. It was a Sunday, the day everyone checks out. But, my aunt said that after I cleared the sheets from the check-out rooms, I could go for a quick surf. I was glad that summer was still here, and for this case, my family and me were still here.


Darwin's avatar

Rita (Texas) was bad, but so were Donna (Connecticut) and David (Dominica). An unnamed typhoon in the 1960’s California was bad. A big ice storm in Connecticut some years ago was bad in that our power went out for four days and the roads were impassible. The day the dikes broke in our neighborhood in Connecticut was sort of bad.

gooch's avatar

Katrina and Rita

aprilsimnel's avatar

Tornado when I was 10. It seemed like the whole school had to race into a basement area where there were no windows, but we could hear them shatter as the tornado passed by. That was eerie.

amanderveen's avatar

Whiteout conditions, avalanche warnings and pitted, icy surfaces through the section of Hwy 1/97 between Hope and Lac La Hache (while the highway was technically closed – it closed right after I started through). There were at least 2 fatal accidents on that stretch that day. What would have been a 4.5 hour trip on a regular day took 12 hours, but at least I arrived safely.

MacBean's avatar

I actually have a journal entry about this! I was driving from Lewiston, ID back to the Albany, NY area and I kept myself busy when I stopped for the night by writing.

Friday, 23 May 2008, 10:11 PM

Today. Was. A day.

First, I didn’t get started until much later than I wanted. So when I first got going, as I was driving along, still in the “Duh…” stage of waking and trying to put the cap back on my soda bottle, my lane changed into I-86 when I still wanted to be on I-84. I lost quite a bit of time correcting that little error.

Then after I stopped for lunch I had to pull over to throw up twice before I was even out of Utah. Note to self: Denny’s is fine when you’re at home, but when you’re on the road, apparently it kills you.

Then. OMG. Then I experienced the apocalypse. I’m not kidding or exaggerating; there was thunder, lightning, rain, sleet, snow and hail ALL AT ONCE. I don’t mean I drove a little farther and it changed from one to another. I mean it was ALL AT ONCE. And it was coming down crazy hard. My windshield wipers were going full blast and I still couldn’t see a fucking thing. I’ve driven in white-out conditions during blizzards, I’ve been in rain I couldn’t see through, and I’ve even experienced a tornado firsthand. But that shit was the craziest weather I have ever seen in my life. F*ck you, western weather. F*ck you hard.

I should have driven more today but it hit me all of the sudden around seven o’clock that I was just really done with this day. I drove to the next biggish city—Rawlins, WY—and stopped at a Best Western. Ordered pizza, called my parents and Chantal (but not L and C because I don’t have cell phone service here so the phone calls were going on my parents’ credit card), and wrote another prompt. Now I’m going to take a shower and go the hell to bed. It’s time for today to be over.

(If anyone wonders, Chantal is my best friend. L and C were the people I rented a room from in Idaho.)

EmpressPixie's avatar

Unable to evacuate: Isabel, but the attitude was good because I was in college and it’s basically impossible to make college students understand HURRICANE unless they are from a hurricane area.

Most likely to kill me: Blizzard in my youth. Didn’t know how close we were to not having warmth, though, so I wasn’t worried.

Most worrisome: Flooding in fourth grade. The house actually flooded and I was awake at 2am, in the atmosphere of worried parents, trying to stop the flood waters from getting inside.

But I can tell stories of being caught in just about any kind of storm. I’m really good at finding them.

Darwin's avatar

@EmpressPixie : My husband’s job in the Navy was not only finding storms (hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones) but flying into them and through the eye wall. Have you considered becoming a weather guesser? Find bad storms, fly into them, become scared spitless – Go, Navy!

Aethelwine's avatar

@Darwin That sounds really interesting. I wouldn’t mind running around with some tornado chasers for a day. I think it would be exciting.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Darwin: That’s actually one job I wanted growing up because I love flying, don’t mind turbulence, not even “the woman next to me is praying” turbulence, and am great at always being in the bad weather anyway.

Um, didn’t go for it because I don’t like the military (in a strictly do not do well under orders way).

Jack79's avatar

officially, there was this huge storm that swept central Europe around 2000 or so. I was supposed to drive west that day, and it was heading east. I waited for it to pass, and luckily its path was some 10km north of me. When I eventually got on the road, everything was devastated, there were trees and stuff everywhere

Once I got caught into what they said was the worst snowstorm of the century (it was a bit after that hurricane). It was not all that bad. Sure, lots of snow and cold, but not that dangerous. Just had to drive slowly, and ended up getting to Denmark in 17 hours instead of 9.

A month ago I had to cross the border into the Czech Republic, at a place called Usti Nad Labem, pretty high altitude. This was really the worst, and it was the only time I got scared. The street was like an ice-skating rink, my car was not that good, and the winds were so strong that if I stopped I’d just get blown off into the ditch. And it was pitch dark and it was snowing, so I could not see where I was going. I really thought I’d have an accident. Luckily I made it down the mountain, where visibility was better and winds weaker, even though it was still pretty slippery.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Jack79 The Cz is probably my favorite place on the globe. I hope you enjoyed your time there. Um, when you weren’t fearing for your life.

Jack79's avatar

mine too :)

galileogirl's avatar

I was driving across Illinois and I approahed Chicago there was a grey curtain of clouds. Coming from CA, I can drive in fog, but this was the worst rainstorm I had ever experienced. It was like God had turned a fire hose on the city. I was totally blind and as I tried to move to the right to get under an overpass or get to an exit ramp, no one would let me out. The big rig drivers knew what to do, they parked under the overpasses like wagon trains. In CA it is a bad storm if we get more than an inch in 24 hrs. That storm dropped 10 inches in less than 10 hours.

cooksalot's avatar

There have been several when I was growing up. Hawaii has a hurricane season so every year we wait for that one big bad one.

autumn43's avatar

It was Christmas about six years ago. We had gone to my brother’s house in Maine on Christmas Day. A snowstorm had started about 3 in the afternoon and we headed home about 5. I insisted we leave because our house was torn apart for a remodel and the painters were coming the next day. Anyway, we hit the road and there was probably 5 or 6 inches that had fallen. We had a 4WD so we thought we were fine. My sister and her family were following behind us in their minivan.

It took about 40 minutes to get to the highway; it should have taken 10. Pretty much a blizzard had started about 25 minutes after we left the house. We couldn’t see in front of us. We didn’t want to turn around and go back, figuring the highway would be better. Nope. It took us 3 hours to get home going 20 miles an hour (45 minute drive usually).

My sister and her husband accidentally took an exit off the highway, thinking they were following us and found a hotel to stay at. We saw many cars spin out and end up in the median. I called the state police about a car that was in the woods off the highway. It was definitely a white knuckle driving situation. White out conditions. We didn’t even see the bridge from Maine to New Hampshire until we were on the bridge. It was freaky.

Well, the next day the painters never came because they had a second job of plowing snow and they were out all day doing just that.

Maldadpermanente's avatar

In Canary Islands. On my way back from the airport the road got blocked and dozens of cars trapped in the night. Big stones kept falling from the mountain turning evertything into a horror movie. We all got rescued two hours later.

VS's avatar

September 20–21, 1989 – Charleston SC – Hurricane Hugo
Absolutely the most terrifying thing ever in 40 years (at that time) of life on this planet.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

A monster winter storm in the Baltic. Forty foot seas at least, sixty mile per hour winds, ice so high on deck that it reached the rails. Our ship was about three football fields long and was tossed like a rubber ducky in a hurricane. We nearly floundered a couple of times. It was very iffy for awhile.

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