Hurricane season always brings the memories of the two we experienced during our time in The Philippines. Because the storms came from the Pacific Ocean they were called typhoon rather than hurricane. They still have the same construction.
One of them skirted Clark Air Base, but the other hit us full on. Philippines – Google Maps Where we were was in Angeles City which was north of Manila. In 1968 Typhoon Ora struck The Philippines as a category 4 with winds of 140 mph. Of course by the time it got to us inland, it had dropped in intensity after moving over land. Regardless it was very powerful when it struck us.
I remember my dad saying he had to get the flight line ready for the storm but would be back home. He was a crew chief and this was two or three days before it’s approach. Thankfully this was in between his TDY trips to Phan Rang, Vietnam and he was able to be there with us while it occurred. I remember all of us spending time trying to cover the windows, getting all of our towels and sheets to use for wet floors. We picked up things that were on the floor and set them on beds. Ridiculous I know but we had no experience with this situation.
I had my own bedroom and felt very possessive over my things, and I fully intended to guard my room from the storm. I was a naïve 13 year old.
It was early in the day when it finally hit us. The sky was typical thunderstorm dark grey/blue. I remember standing outside looking at the clouds. They were startlingly low and moving in dizzy, wind driven swirls. At first there wasn’t much lightning, that came later on.
I recall tree limbs, boards and other debris flying by, carried by the wind in it’s steady increase in strength. The rain went from a steady drizzle, to rain showers to heavy rain shafts that flooded our yard. Behind our house was a ravine about three feet deep, that normally had nothing more than a few inches of water in it, and a railroad track which was submerged by this little creek within an hour or so.
Our street in Josefa subdivision, a dirt road, was covered side to side in water. As the storm gained on us and the heart of it came near the sound of the wind is something I will never forget. To this day, strong winds cause me worry and anxiety. During this time, which now I realize was the eye wall, I watched as the ceiling in my bedroom would lift a foot or so then slam down. Over and over it did this as I worked to keep as much dry as possible while I would stare out at the sky with each lifting.
Being new to this kind of thing when all of a sudden it calmed, I was ecstatic. My sisters and I ran outside and the clouds were all around us but there was patchy sunlight. My dad explained it was the eye of the storm – the middle and there was more coming. I was devastated by this news. I was determined to stand out there and watch it show up.
Unexpectedly the eye wall hit, and I truly mean it was unexpected to the young teen watching. A strong wind whipped across me with enough strength to push me back into our carport. Immediately rain was flying horizontally. Dad yelled for me to come inside and just as I passed him he said the neighbors large storage building flew away. It was later found in pieces a mile away. We gathered together in the living room, all of us soaking wet, the floor with a couple of inches of standing water and sang hymns, prayed, and waited. Sometime during the night Ora left us.
The next day Mom and I took all of our clothes, towels, sheets, curtains etc., on the base to the laundry to clean everything and dry it. We only had an old fashioned wringer washer and clothes line at our house.
I will never forget that experience and I have such empathy for those who have to go through it. Each time there is a storm I have this morbid curiosity about it and end up watching videos of the storms, and the storm surge. 🌀
I hate the wind.