The first of my Carolina Voice posts, here is a Hurricane Florence Update.
For those who like to get to the point quickly, we are home. We are safe. We are fortunate. We were spared.
So many others in the path of Hurricane Florence lost everything. Many are still knee-deep in recovery efforts and their lives will never be the same. If you have the means to donate your time or funds towards a storm relief charity, I recommend you do it. People still need help.
I am a local to North Carolina. I was born and raised here. Hurricanes are a way of life for many who live along the coast. It is strange to put on to paper the type of “auto pilot mode” locals go in to when a hurricane is forecast to hit our area. I almost have a hard time describing it as the atmosphere changes. The mood changes. There is less chatter in the local grocery store and more silence as people prepare. The conversations about what are important change. This is my small contribution to conversation about Hurricane Florence.
I remember Tuesday, September 11th 2018 like it was yesterday. That is a significant day for many as it is the memorial of September 11th, 2001 when our national was tragically struck by a terrorist attack that took the lives of many and changed the lives for all.
This September 11th was a bit different as we were sitting in the direct path of Hurricane Florence that was projected to hit North Carolina later in the week.
I live on the coast of North Carolina. To be specific, I live directly on the Intracoastal waterway. Preparing for Hurricane Florence as a possible category 4 storm was a wake up call for me. There was nothing between the path of the storm and our home except for the spoken prayers coming from myself and others.
On the morning of September 11th my husband was preparing to drive his work car up to Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh was considered less of a threat to projected floods. I was at home with the kids frantically trying to decide which of our most precious personal belongings I could fit in to one of two vehicles before we got on the road to evacuate from our home.
We evacuated to Greenville, North Carolina to ride out the storm with my in-laws. What my husband and I planned on being a 2 day stay turned in to 6 day stay until we could safely get home. I am forever grateful for the space we shared and the conversations we had during that time.
Folks say things happen for a reason. I am glad we made the decision to evacuate. During our evacuation stay my daughter came down with what was thought to be an asthma attack. Fortunate to have never lost power in Greenville, we were able to take her to the emergency room to get the medicine she needed. We later learned she had developed bronchial pneumonia after returning home and visiting our local doctor. Had we stayed we would not have had a doctor to take her to. Even our local emergency room had to evacuate all personnel due to flood threads from Florence.
A hurricane brings uncommon threats to the area. During the flood many wild animals become displaced, unlikely retention ponds flood over causing polluted water to travel and septic systems flood. In our case, the Duke Energy Dam breached causing coal ash to spill into the Cape Fear River. – reference
The number of personnel staged in our area from surrounding power companies was something I had never seen before. We got power back to our home on day 11 post Florence. Support was everywhere. I had the pleasure of speaking to a crew out of Indiana and shared conversation over bottles of ice-cold water. It was the least we could do to show our appreciation.
Aside from the items we were able to fit in 3 coolers, we lost all of the cold and frozen contents in our deep freezers and refrigerators. The damage to our home was minimal and what damage we did have is easily repairable.
So now, we are back. Life on the coast is different. The scenery is different. Where trees once stood, we have gaps. Where beaches were accessible, we have “no trespassing” signs. Our schools have been closed and remain closed as repairs continue while also serving as a shelter in place.
There are piles of debris everywhere as we wait for cleanup crews to remove it. For those who can, they are getting back to work. For others, life after Hurricane Florence has begun.
- 421 is still impassible
- roads and bridges still bare a brown stain showing how high the water levels got during flooding
- coastal communities are impacted
My continued prayers go out to all impacted.
I encourage you to consider the following to help ongoing relief efforts:
- Find a reputable hurricane relief charity and donate your time or funds to help. Cleanup efforts will most likely continue for months to help folks return to a new “normal” as they rebuild.
- Consider shopping local. Big business can survive while locals can not bounce back as quickly. Local businesses depend on the business of tourists and visitors to survive.