If we were having coffee today, a storm out in the Atlantic named Florence would be on my mind. I keep watching the forecasts and it apparently is aimed at the coast of the Carolinas.
I live a bit inland, but these storms are so big we can get some impact here, depending on where it hits. In 1996, Hurricane Fran hit the coast just south of Wilmington NC. In looking at historical tracking maps it looks like that area between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington is the sweet spot as regards deep inland penetration to this area. Fran caused great damage in the area where I live, mostly wind damage. Note: wind damage means long-term loss of power.
Here’s a link about Hurricane Fran: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Fran … there’s an interesting graphic on that page that details the ranking of the ten “Most severe landfalling Atlantic hurricanes in the United States” … in looking at that I realized that I have been affected by FOUR of the storms on that list. Hurricane Carla in 1961 I remember very well. I don’t remember Audrey but I know it affected the area I lived in but I was 5 and we were on the fringes of it. Hugo didn’t have a huge impact here in central NC but it was so big we got the fringes of it and they were significant. And, of course, Fran.
We lived in a single-wide mobile home in 1996. Yes, don’t ride out the storm in a mobile home. I know that. We also didn’t have any place to go. We lived in a mostly rural county. The evacuation center they set up was 25 miles away down an awful road I didn’t like to drive on in clear, dry weather. By the time we knew it was going to be bad where we were, it was too late. Even worse, the storm hit in the middle of the night. The power went out pretty early. I remember sitting in on the couch watching a half-empty 2-liter bottle of Coke on the coffee table. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park when the Tyrannosaurus was approaching and the coffee in a cup had ripples in it with each step? This bottle of Coke did the same thing. Huge gusts would hit the mobile home and cause ripples just like that, again and again. Things hit the walls. Unidentifiable sounds in the blackness of night were terrifying. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep and woke up to birds chirping. I looked out to a stark reality. We lost a huge tree in our backyard (one of the terrifying sounds in the night) but it miraculously fell away from the house. It would have crushed the mobile home and probably killed me where I was sitting. My neighbor on that side had a stand of pine trees on his lot. This one tree took down SEVENTEEN of his trees (most with a trunk diameter of 8-10 inches).
So, I’m watching this storm. I bought a generator yesterday. I’ve been meaning to get one for a long time. Here we also have ice storms that result in lengthy power outages so it is something I’ve meant to get for a long time. In the time I was at the store, I saw four other generators purchased.
I’ll stock up on nonperishable supplies today and tomorrow. I’ll pick up debris around the house. I just had a roof leak patched. It hasn’t been completely tested. I guess it will be tested. I’ll have a tarp and bricks ready. Gas in the car, gas for the generator. With my luck, all of these preparations will likely steer the storm away.
Oh, coffee, I should lay in some coffee as well as some water (but our rural water system supply seems pretty stable). The one bright spot after Fran: our kitchen range was propane and I had plenty of gas. I also worked at that time as a barista for a high-end coffee purveyor. We had really good coffee.
Just as I was finishing this post I saw another forecast … bullseye on the NC/SC border. It’s still almost a week out. We’ll see …
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
Please go buy his books! http://thefensk.com