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Andrew Huff / January 13, 2010 11:38 AM

Here's a list of organizations accepting donations for Haiti Relief:
ActionAid
American Jewish World Service
American Red Cross
AmeriCares
Concern Worldwide
Food for the Hungry
Friends of the World Food Program
Oxfam America
Physicians for Peace
Project Concern
UNICEF
World Vision

Cinnamon / January 13, 2010 3:05 PM

When I was 10 a tornado came near our house. Knocked a 100+ year old sycamore tree over and fell into our dining room scaring me so badly that I don't remember this happening. We were in a rural area and it knocked down our garage, chicken coop and barn as well. I remember seeing a sheep flying through the air along with our swing set and I began to sing songs from Wizard of Oz.

The tornado damaged so much of our tiny area of the world, but I can't compare my experience to New Orleans and Katrina or what is going on in Haiti.

flange / January 13, 2010 4:22 PM

when i lived outside boston some 25 years ago, a mild earthquake hit. it felt like a truck rumbling down the street, but lasted much longer. turned out it was centered well up in canada, but since the northeast is all bedrock it carried well.

Mo / January 13, 2010 6:19 PM

When I was in the 5th grade, a tornado went through our front yard. I was awake watching the shadows outside the blinds, thinking it was just a really bad storm until a tree fell on the house. The twister opened up a neighbor's house like a dollhouse.

Then in college a hurricane came through. Living in NC, they were an annual thing, but only once did it come so far inland. It wasn't bad, though.

And the earthquake that happened here recently woke me up. It was unnerving but interesting.

Mo / January 13, 2010 6:20 PM

When I was in the 5th grade, a tornado went through our front yard. I was awake watching the shadows outside the blinds, thinking it was just a really bad storm until a tree fell on the house. The twister opened up a neighbor's house like a dollhouse.

Then in college a hurricane came through. Living in NC, they were an annual thing, but only once did it come so far inland. It wasn't bad, though.

And the earthquake that happened here recently woke me up. It was unnerving but interesting.

ballpeen / January 13, 2010 6:41 PM

Growing up in FL, September's hurricane season festivities was as traditional as hanging Christmas decorations: duct tape on the windows (panels of MDF in excessive gales), cars put in the garage, etc. In college, it was customary to buy a keg and wait it out. Andrew was the worst, if I recall, causing it to snow that winter (though perhaps el NiƱo helped out as well). Only one lone evacuation with little more damage in our area than dinged up cars and broken trees and power lines, thankfully. May we never know another Katrina.

I was in a 6.8 earthquake in Seattle back in 2001. Quite alarming to see 14' brick walls wiggle and sway like a line of bellydancers, then right themselves like it never happened. That was the last piece of BS I ever allowed that town to hand me.

fluffy / January 13, 2010 7:49 PM

While living in Mexico City, a 7.1 earthquake woke us all up. My bed was moving accross the room, doors were slamming, sidewalks were cracking, everything's falling and crashing. At the same time, it was eerily silent. It felt like it lasted forever. I've never felt so helpless in my life. I never want to feel that again.

Suz / January 13, 2010 8:55 PM

I experienced an earthquake when I lived in Portland, Oregon in 2004. It happened while I was sleeping, but it did wake me up. I sorta watched my potted plants shake a little. But it was over before I knew it and the day went on like normal. My heart goes out to the country of Haiti.

mike-ts / January 13, 2010 10:44 PM

Yes, yes, no. The earthquake that hit the midwest in the late 80's felt like the rumble of a bus going by, and went just as quickly, but times 10. It was like "what was that," not "what is that."

Four recent tornado experiences. 2008's was a midnight one that picked through the neighborhoods, mashing one block's trees and power lines, leaving the next's alone. Spring 2007's tornado passed overhead and took a quarter of my roof (the place swayed like a drunk from the force), and came silently with no rain. The August 2007 one I missed by attending a Croatian fest, but coming home to the after-effects of dodging trees on the interstate and pitch dark city streets was another planet. Last spring I was going down the road when a storm tracker van passed by, and I turned around and followed a couple of blocks when they stopped, got out, and looked up. The tornado looked like a diagram of the outer intestine, coming down and draping right, down, left, and once it touched down, it instantly vanished.

No casualties, minimal damage (on my end), so a few good stories for summer bbq's, but no tragedy.

charlie / January 14, 2010 10:59 AM

Tornado on i-57 about 25 years ago. I pulled over and scrambled up an overpass embankment. I really just remember the noise and the smell.

Dutch101 / January 14, 2010 3:53 PM

There was that mild downstate quake in Chicago a couple years ago. Certainly not severe, but I felt it and one of the aftershocks.

I have also been in earthquakes in Alaska (fairly big, in the late '70s), Tacoma, WA and San Francisco, though none really wreaked that much havoc.

I've been in a tropical storm in New Orleans, a month before Katrina.

Some golfball to baseball sized hail storms.

Blizzards of various duration and intensity.

Saw some funnel clouds while driving through South Dakota last summer.

That's about it, and mercifully, none have really impacted me substantially.

Pangloss / January 14, 2010 4:41 PM

Los Angeles, California February 9, 1971. Earthquake with a 6.6 magnatude. Aftershocks continued throughout the day, 65 people died. I was 9 years old. It wasn't the shaking that woke me up, it was the noise the closet doors were making rattling very hard. I ran to the front door and looked outside. I remember a woman running across the apartment courtyard in her pajamas, screaming.

Leelah / January 14, 2010 10:03 PM

A few earthquakes in CA. The first was in San Francisco when I was 17 (summer 1988) and working for my uncle's company. When the rumbling started, I thought a truck was going by, but my cousin said, "It's an earthquake! Hold on to the computer!" As if on cue, the whole office shook, while stuff fell off shelves. My cousin and I held on to the computers and stared at each other. I thought it was kind of cool.

The other happened early in the morning in the summer of 1992 in LA. I woke up to the tremors, and I thought my house was being robbed. (I don't know why I equated shaking with robbery...)
After a few seconds, I realized it was an earthquake, then went back to sleep. Within minutes, just about everyone I knew started calling. I was on the phone with my mom when the aftershocks started, and I remember her telling me, "Get in a doorway!" I thought, "I'm not getting out of bed."

paul / January 15, 2010 8:09 AM

Certainly never been in a real disaster, but I've chased tornadoes (for a newspaper) in Central IL, been through a hurricane as a kid in NJ that was powerful enough to uproot a few willow trees and blow them around like tumbleweeds, and felt a couple of tremors here and there and a pretty good shake in New Zealand once.

Feel / January 17, 2010 2:44 PM

I grew up in South Florida so I've been through quite a few hurricanes and tropical storms. The worst by far was Hurricane Andrew. I remember watching a constant line of aircraft flying over our house after they evacuated the airports. At that point we knew it was bad. As with most hurricanes the days leading up to it are clouded with a strange sense of impending doom, but Andrew was by far the scariest. Luckily, (at least for us) the storm veered south at the last minute and spared most of SFL the wrath it gave Homestead. The devastation was horrible. A family friend who was sent down there to cover the storm for a local newspaper said he saw full sized dumpsters skip down the street like tumble weeds. I think other storms caused more damage to our area, but few struck such a sense of fear in the locals.

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