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[Intro written August 30, 2011] Hurricane Irene prompted “mandatory evacuations” throughout its wide path, including in our neighborhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  My children, having lived through two major hurricanes in St. Croix, insisted on coming home to weather the storm.   They are experts in dealing with the 3 phases of hurricane crisis – the laborious preparation beforehand, the wrenching anxiety of surviving destructive forces, and coping with the long aftermath.  Thankfully, Irene simply tested our home and our nerves, but left both fully intact.

I wrote the following essay on the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm which profoundly impacted our lives.   After writing this essay, I left the large law firm world.   The lessons I pondered then, remain even more relevant now.

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The eye of Hurricane Hugo passed over our home on St. Croix sometime around midnight on September 17, 1989.  My husband and I huddled in our master bathroom with our three small children and spent the night terrified as winds gusting to 200 miles per hour tore off our roof, blew out our windows and sucked out all of our furniture and other belongings.  We arose the next morning to an eerily quiet scene of utter destruction- both inside the standing walls of what was left of our house and outside over the vast stretches of debris-strewn terrain we could see from our hilltop home.
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