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Hurricanes
AUGUST 2005
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Multimedia: Global Storms
Multimedia: Birth of Isabel
In some cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.
Photograph by Susan Sterner



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Hurricanes






    The night after Hurricane Ivan hit, I was searching for a place to stay in Pensacola, Florida, and stopped at a Hampton Inn. All their rooms were booked, but a woman working there told me to come back if I couldn't find anything at the shelter. The shelter didn't have anything either, so I came back and she found a place for me to sleep. Since the power was out, I even got three glow sticks and two bottles of drinking water. I was really thankful for her generosity, and in return gave her some gas for her generator. In horrible situations like this, there always seem to be people who help out however they can.
    Since I rented a car at the last minute, the only thing the rental agency had was a huge Lincoln Town Car. It had GPS and was a sweet ride, but it wasn't very efficient gas-wise. I had to keep track of the miles I drove and carry two cans of gas with me because all the gas stations were shut down. I put the gas cans in my trunk, but the fumes were making sick. I had a headache the entire time I was driving.
    When I returned to Pensacola to do a follow-up story five months after the hurricanes, I was surprised to see how devastated everything still was. I walked past some of the beaches I had known since my childhood, and there were these huge piles of sand on them. Work crews had piled up more than a million cubic yards of displaced sand to redistribute along the beaches later. Well, I was driving along trying to make pictures of these sand piles when I saw these kids surfing down them with their boards and skis (see pages 82-83). They would fly down the hill and land at the bottom, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. It was quite amusing, a new kind of an extreme sport.
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