As I mentioned in Monday’s post, we have been keeping a very close eye on Hurricane Florence and making plans about preparations for a possible major storm event. Each time there’s an updated forecast, it’s changed since the last one: landfall between North Carolina and South Carolina, landfall in North Carolina, landfall between North Carolina and Virginia. Rainfall up to 30 inches in some areas, and I don’t even want to think about the strength of the winds.
At this time, all the tracks show her making landfall well south of our area, then turning to the west. That means we’ll be spared the hurricane-force winds and “catastrophic” rains and flooding. “Catastrophic”: there’s a word that will get your attention. Although we’re relieved at this, we feel badly for our neighbors to the south and west. And we know that, one day, it’s inevitable that it will be our area that faces the destruction from a major hurricane.
Part of today’s post (in blue) and the photos are from a post I wrote in October of 2016. In it, I shared some memories I have of past hurricanes that have impacted our area of southeast Virginia.
The first hurricane 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 James 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.
Motor Man and I stayed at home during Isabel, and, even in her weakened state, she was powerful.
Here’s our side yard just after Isabel:
And this is a 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 (built in the 1600’s) 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.
In 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. I cannot even begin to imagine a Cat 4 (or even a 3) hurricane.
Yesterday morning, our county issued a mandatory evacuation as of 8 a.m. for all areas in Zone A. And yes, that applies to our home. But we didn’t leave.
We’re still waiting to see the last minute path Florence decides to take. We have a generator, food, water, batteries, supplies for the kitties and our vehicles filled with gas. We just pray that all that preparation will just be a good practice for us, all the while sending good thoughts to those that WILL be affected.
~These Days Of Mine~