Rain? The last weather report didn't mention any rain.
I leaped out of bed and saw how gloomy it looked outside my window. I rushed downstairs to the front shutter doors and opened it up to see slightly wet Gabi.
"Gabi...what on earth...?, I said.
Gabi interrupted me. "CC, I need you to check your weather instruments *now*! I need you to send a telegram to the U.S. Weather Bureau *now*!"
I looked at Gabi, alarmed. "You don't think....? But it's only sprinkling!"
"No, I don't think, I *know*. I can feel it.", said Gabi.
That was not a good sign, I had learned to trust Gabi's vibes over the years. I quickly glanced over at the barometer beside the telephone. Mon Dieu, that was a very low reading for a light summer storm.
I actually went to the telephone first, but couldn't reach a long distance operator, though local service was still operational. I had a small experimental Marconi wireless transmitter in the attic, but the range in bad weather for such a low powered transmitter wasn't very good. I should have installed that transmitter power upgrade I had thought about last month, but I had to have those additional formal gowns. In situations like this, telegraph tended to be more reliable, trust Gabi to know this instinctively, so I got on the key and we soon had an answer.
"You are right Gabi. It's a tropical storm that is turning in to a hurricane."
"CC, please watch this. Also, ", she said.
She handed me a stack of old telegrams.
"I need you to send these. Some of the addresses have changed but I know you know all the current ones. I have to go. I have to go get Emma.", she said, very quickly.
"I'm on it." said I, as I returned to the key, but before I could send any messages it started clacking away. New report....the storm had a name...Diane and it was heading our way.
I shouted to Gabi through the window, "Gabi! It's Hurricane Diane. That's what's coming. Diane!"
I started my own keying and heard the rain pick up. Not good at all.
STEAMLANDS UNION TELEGRAM
SELENA ANANSI WINTERFELL
MOSSEVENO TENK NEW BABBAGE
TOTALLUNAR ECLIPSE STEELHEAD
DESMOND SHANG CALEDON
LUCIEN BRENTANO MARIKESH MONDRAGO
KLAUS WULFENBACH EUROPA WULFENBACH
HURRICANE DIANE APPROACHING ST JOHN LANDFALL IN NEXT 24 HOURS REQUEST ASSISTANCE ADVISE HEAVY CAUTION
Once I was finished sending the message, I went out on the bedroom balcony and watched the sky, with an ear towards the telegraph and telephone.
Sandbags, I'm going to need them.
A few hours later, I had finagled some sandbags, and with the help of a few stout young parish-folk had a low barrier around my entrances. My house was on somewhat higher ground and I hoped it would be enough...but the rain kept falling, harder and harder with time....depending on Diane's landfall point and strength when she landed...it might not be enough.