High Desert Daily
(Hesperia) -– As hurricane Irene batters the East Coast, coming ashore in North Carolina and projected to move up the coast toward New York, most High Desert residents have no idea what it is like to weather a storm of that nature.
Bess Kline, a Realtor with Century 21 Desert Rock in Hesperia, was born and raised in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. She lived through many hurricanes, including Hurricane Hazel in 1954 which came ashore near the border between North and South Carolina, as a Category 4 hurricane.
Bess explained, “That was the scariest one. I remember it as a child, I must have been about 11 or 12 years old. About 3:30 in the morning my mom woke me up, we got ready, and we all went to the elementary school because it was an all brick building.”
“We sat in the hallways on our pillows, away from the windows in the classrooms. We didn’t know how long we would have to be there because we never knew how long the hurricane would last. On that one we were there the rest of that night and all day the next day,” said Kline.
She continued, “I can remember that the chimney was damaged on my sister’s house with that storm. The water came up 2 blocks from the ocean. It was very high and took some of the fishing piers out. I can remember that one of them had a seafood restaurant on the top and it was just gone with the water and the wind.”
Although that was many years ago, Kline says that not much has changed when it comes to dealing with hurricanes. “They still go through the same things. I always check in with family because the hurricanes do take the roofs off of houses and they take down the electrical lines. Every year the water would come and take out a lot of the ocean front hotels when it would cross the highway. When the water would cross the road we knew we were in trouble.”
Hurricane Irene was forecast to come ashore as a category 2 storm with winds sustained at 100 mph. It has an area with a population of approximately 29 million people under hurricane warnings, with many evacuations ordered, especially for areas along the coast and in low lying locations from North Carolina all the way up to Maine.