Hurricane & Earthquake 🇺🇸

by - 7:47 PM

Two weeks ago, on the 20th of August 2023, I woke up to a government SMS notification that would change the course of my life. The message was a stark warning about an impending hurricane, Hilary, set to ravage Southern California. The notification painted a grim picture of a potentially life-threatening amount of rainfall expected to cause flash, urban, and arroyo flooding, including landslides, mudslides, and debris flows. Dangerous to locally catastrophic flooding impacts were expected in my area. The advice was clear: secure property, hide indoors, and follow the local authorities' instructions.

Despite the warning, a part of me was drawn to the outside world. I decided to risk it and take a walk to the beach, pier, and promenade. Within an hour, the sky transformed from a vibrant palette of colors to a dark, heavy blue, pregnant with ominous clouds. The wind grew stronger, more dangerous, accompanied by a torrential downpour. The beach and paths began to flood, and trees broke, crashing onto parked cars. The most popular area of my town quickly became a ghost town as police officers started urging everyone to seek shelter indoors.

A battle waged within me. One part of me was terrified, urging me to return home as soon as possible. The other part was drawn to the chaos, wanting to stay outside to witness and document everything happening. The latter won, and despite my fear, I managed to walk around, capturing videos of the unfolding disaster. I posted these on my Instagram stories and reels, providing a real-time account of the hurricane's wrath.

However, when more safety alerts started flooding my phone, and debris began flying around, I realized the gravity of the situation. I retreated indoors, thinking I would be safe. But then, the unthinkable happened. An earthquake, measuring 6 on the Richter scale, decided to join the party. Roads and beaches turned into rivers, buildings and properties were damaged, and hundreds of people were left terrified.

The night was a symphony of chaos, filled with noise, whistling, and banging from outside. The feeling of danger and curiosity kept me awake. When dawn broke, I decided to venture outside, donning my gumboots to navigate the new landscape. What I saw was surreal. My town had turned into an ocean. Cars were sinking, trash floated on the water, palm trees were broken, cars crashed, windows shattered, and the beach around the pier was a wild river with waterfalls cascading into the ocean.

For two days, we endured the wrath of Hurricane Hilary and the accompanying earthquake. Then, just a day later, it was as if nothing had happened. The town returned to its normal Hollywood-style life. But I knew what I knew. I had seen the power of nature, and I had survived. I was a survivor of the hurricane and earthquake in California. And for that, I raised a glass in a silent toast. 

Cheers to survival, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit.

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