(Registered User)
Wed Sep 03 2008 10:40 AM
Re: Hurricane Elena, 1985

Hi, all - I went through Elena while living in Mobile, AL. I remember watching Elena loop around, but knew in my gut that we were going to be hit. At the time, I was the director of 2 ICU's in one of the local hospitals there. We closed down the unit with the most window exposure, to decrease the danger to patients and staff. My office was in that area. I remember being in the hospital that night, hearing the howling of the wind and feeling that prickling sensation as the pressure fell. We had no shutters on the windows, so we could see the blue flashes as the transformers blew all around us. The hospital was right next to a canal, so we nervously watched as the water level rose (during Frederick they had 2 feet of water inside the hospital). Our end stayed dry, but the lower part closer to the front of the hospital started having some flooding and people were reporting snakes in the hallways. After the storm passed, I was in the side of the ICU we had closed, checking that all of the windows were intact. As I went toward my office, I started smelling smoke and noticed some coming out of the A/C vent in the ceiling. First time I ever had to actually activate the fire alarm!! Some wiring had gotten wet and shorted out when the generators kicked the A/C on. If I hadn't been there checking, we might have had a bigger problem on our hands!!

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