I rode out a hurricane once and once is enough for me!

It was Hurricane Alan.  The date August, 1980.  The place was Houston, Texas.

Alan was a real monster.  In fact it spent more time as a Category 5 hurricane than all but three other storms.  The front page of the Houston Post newspaper showed an aerial photo of it the day before landfall.  The hurricane filled every inch of the Gulf of Mexico.  Touching Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

I had never gone through a hurricane before.  It was exciting.  I lived in Houston from 1979 to 1985.  Most of the locals were well used to it.  In fact it was pretty commonplace.  I remember that even the brown paper grocery bags in the stores had printed hurricane tracker maps on them and people put them on their refrigerators and marked down the daily path of the storm.  I was in our tiny condo when it hit.  At night.  It always seems that these storms come at night.

We had done all the prep were were advised to do, including filling up our bathtub with water.  And yes, that came in handy over the next day or so.  At the peak of the storm, I opened the door and went out on the second floor balcony to take a look.

It was raining horizontally.  The wind sounded like a freight train.  The water in our complex swimming pool below me had white caps in it.  The pathway light poles were bent over backwards.

What you forget about during a storm like this is that when the power goes out so does the air conditioning.  And being unable to open a door or window, well, let me say, it was a long, hot muggy Houston night that evening.

In the morning we all crept out of our little condos to survey the damage.  We were intact.  Still no power, and lots of damage.  I held my breath as I walked to the parking lot.  And while I could see many cars and trucks that were damaged, my little Ford pickup went through it unscathed.

When all was said and done, the official death total from Hurricane Alan was 269.  And the damage total clocked in at $1.57-billion.

I dodged a bullet that night in Houston during Hurricane Alan back in 1980.  I'll never take that chance again.