We are feeling very relieved and thankful that the forecast for the track of Hurricane Matthew now does not include our area. But, as promised, today I’m sharing some memories I have of past hurricanes that have affected southeast Virginia.
The first hurricane that I recall was Donna in September, 1960. I was a little girl, and my mom had just severely broken her ankle that summer and was still in a cast. During the storm, we stayed with my grandmother, who lived about a half mile from our house. What I remember about the storm was: my grandmother’s bathroom floor flooded, a nearby mobile home lost its roof, and there seemed to be power lines on the ground everywhere.
The next hurricane that comes to mind was Camille in 1969. This storm went west of us and flooded areas in the mountains of Virginia. I recall riding the Jamestown ferry days later and seeing debris from the western part of our state floating in the river.
Hurricane Gloria threatened our area in 1985, but at the last minute, she went out to sea. Thankfully, we didn’t need the bathtub full of water we had drawn.
The next major hurricane was Floyd in 1999. That storm caused severe flooding in our area and washed out roads in the county.
I’m not sure if you can tell the extent of damage in this next picture, taken in neighboring Surry county. While there’s a vehicle shown in the above photo, a house could easily have fit in the area washed away here. The frightening part is that Marshall, a teenager at the time, had visited a friend just a few miles from here earlier in the evening.
Then, came Isabel in 2003. I’d say that Isabel was the strongest hurricane that I recall. I’m not sure if she was even a Category 1 by the time she made it to our area; she was possibly “just” a strong tropical storm. But we lost over 20 tall pine trees in our yard, had flooding up to our deck, and lost electricity for several days.
Here’s our side yard just after Isabel:
And this is a recent photo I took of that same area – under normal conditions.
Isabel also wreaked havoc on the old “Brick Church” cemetery near Bacon’s Castle. It was heartbreaking to see all the damage to the ruins of the old church and the tombstones.
Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused us no damage except tidal flooding (and the following clean-up) here at home and more serious flooding in the Outer Banks.
Just last year, October of 2015, Hurricane Joaquin brought more tidal flooding to our area, but in the Outer Banks, washed away part of the highway in the Kitty Hawk area.
All of my hurricane memories are of strong tropical storms, perhaps a Category 1 storm. I cannot even begin to imagine a Cat 4 (or 5) hurricane. We are keeping our neighbors to the south close in thought. And although major damage seems imminent, we’re praying for a miracle to take Matthew out to sea.
~These Days Of Mine~