Friday, September 3, 2010

Memories of Juan

September 29th, 2003. I will never forget that day, or the night before. I had finished my second contract in South Korea and was once again home for a month. When I left Korea I had just missed Typhooni Maemi.

Maemi devastated parts of Korea, as well as other parts of Asia. Originally I was supposed to be going to Jeju with friends but i ended up going home for a month. They didn't have a fun time because of the typhoon. The image I remember the most is of the cruise ship on it's side in Busan harbour. It left at least 95 people dead and more missing. I wasn't unhappy that I missed it.

Hurricane Juan hit 2 days before I was supposed to fly back to South Korea. It would be the worst storm to hit Nova Scotia since about 1893. As with Maemi, the storm surge was devastating. Juan made hit at the time of the highest tides of the year. This intensified the storm surge.

The night it hit was one of the longest nights I have ever had. My bed was in a corner of the room with windows on both sides. It was hard to sleep because the wind was actually making the glass BEND in! I thought both windows were going to blow in. My dog, sheba, hated storms. She spent the night under my desk. Probably the safest place.


Come morning the power was out all over the province. We were lucky, mom has a gas stove. so at least we could cook. The power was out for a week on my street. In some parts of Nova Scotia it was a month or more before they got power back. The army had to be called in to help with the cleaning.

Stupidly, I went for a drive in the morning to see what the damage looked like. It was pretty bad. Trees were uprooted. Trees were hanging over roads just waiting to fall. Power lines were all over the place.



Around a coastal road I saw a car that had been abandoned. The road had gave way a bit. One of the tires on the car was shredded and the car itself was partially in where the road had vanished. I hope the person driving it made it to a nearby house.





Even areas that were up hill were safe because of the storm surge. Barrington Street in Halifax is a good hike up from the water but the storm surge reached that high. It flooded buildings and left debris on the streets.


A tall ship in Halifax harbour was sunk. The water just swamped it and sent it right down. It would later be raised and sail again.



My brother only had two trees in his yard and both were blown down. One of them ... across the front of his classic Mustang. Amazingly, the 'stang only ended up with some scratches.



We were lucky. One tree broke onto our fence and bent it. Other trees had branches broken off but nothing did any damage.




Some of our neighbours weren't so lucky.



The devastation of the forest was ... impressive and scary. In areas whole forests were just flattened. Literally. The wind was so strong it just pushed the trees over. Point Pleasant Park in Halifax was hit really hard 75% of the trees were KNOCKED DOWN!



The park will be recovering from the loss for a long time. Hell, the Province still has problems because of Juan. Most of the trees knocked over weren't cleared. That left an inordinate amount of dead wood on the ground all over the province. This lead to a couple of huge forest fires in the last few years. Just walking the on the paths behind our house you still see large araes with no trees and lots of dead wood on the ground.

The digital camera I had at the time wasn't that good for making video. The videos were short, 15 seconds, and had no sound. I did make some during the hurricane. The one I am putting below turned out the best. You can see how hard the rain was coming down, and how strong the wind was.


video

Leaving home to go back to Korea was always a little hard. This time is was extremely hard. When I left my street still had no power. As I said previously it would be a week before they did. Many roads were still blocked. Trees down. I felt like I was abandoning my family and friends even though there was nothing I could do.

Hurricane Juan was the worst one I have ever been through, and I have been through a few. It doesn't look like Earl will be as bad as Juan, but you never know.

(Most of the pictures are mine. A few were sent to me by friends or (the Point Pleasant Park ones) are from Environment Canada.)

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