Hurricane Free For Now
Edisto made it through a close call a few weeks ago with Florence. Parts of North Carolina and South Carolina are still ravaged by the floods from the torrents of rain the erratic storm brought with it. Watching Florence approach was nail-biting, the stress compounded by the mass media frenzy on our certain demise and every lazy-boy meteorologist on their smartphone. It was stressful and at times very confusing. The storm, never able to hold a steady path, had us guessing until the moment of landfall. The Governor of SC called for an evacuation early in the week as the storm wobbled back and forth in the projected path leaving spaghetti models flung everywhere, much to everyone's concern.
Lowcountry locals, normally firm on their steadfastness in hurricanes were even scratching their heads on this one. Many who stayed for Hugo were firm in their evacuation plans because of the enormous size of Florence-they were not going through that again. Many more refused to leave. My neighbor said he would rather “Dig out than have to dig his way back in.” That concept rolled over in my head and still is, to be honest. I’m am not a hurricane-hardened local- I evacuate. I know its not an easy decision to make and I don’t judge anyone for their choice either way. In the end, Charleston County got the least rainfall, with less than an inch. The impact, if any we will see from the flooding north of us is yet to be determined.
There was no digging out or digging in for us, not this time at least. Photographs that were shared of the Hugo damage on social media flash in my memory each time I consider the idea of digging out or digging in or the people north of us whose homes are flooded or are currently flooding. This type of devastation is heart-wrenching and my compassion for those dealing with it is deep. Weather prediction is a tough game, and the government did the right thing trying to protect its citizens. In the end, the decision to follow orders is a personal one.
A few days after being home from our “ Hurrication” I was listening to NPR and the guest, whose name and title I have forgotten, was discussing the storm and how the Hurricane Categories are given based on wind speed and that left out one major factor in a storm-the water. The wind is measurable in a hurricane but the amount of water pushed ashore from storm surges and dropped as rain is an undefinable factor. Florence was downgraded to a Category One Storm, but the amount of water the massive storm had carried inside it was beyond anyone's ability to predict or even imagine. This was where the guest stated he felt like the storm ranking allowed for a false sense of hope when it came to hurricane predictions. People think the categorical rank is a correct projection of a storm’s forces as a whole, when in fact it is only the wind.
I too fell into the category of people he was referring to. Listening to this NPR interview left me more to ponder on and I kept thinking about the dig in or dig out. Or in my case, since I don’t own a tractor for said digging, living with my sister until it’s safe to come home. For now, I continue to hope and pray our luck stays, and we avoid any more storms no matter the size.
Stay informed the next time, listen to your authorities and make your decision based on the worst case scenario. No one really knows how each storm event could play out in the end. For now, go out and enjoy our beautiful beach and the fall sunshine and warm air. For the best part of Edisto is to come, the fall and winter with its cool evenings, oyster roasts, crunching leaves under our feet and empty shorelines. I know my favorite sweater is ready to come off of the shelf!