Lots of people didn't. It makes all the damage done to possessions seem like nothing. It was the trees. The soil was sodden with record rain fall this year, and add a category 1 hurricane to the mix, and boom. They all came tumbling down. I'm from New England, so the storm itself didn't seem more than a windy version of a regular thunderstorm, minus the thunder, strangely enough. There were moments of "train's coming" sounds that were worrisome, because I've lived through small tornadoes (tiny compared to what happens in the center of the country) and that's what they sound like...trains...but nothing so scary I couldn't just roll over and fall back to sleep.
We did learn tons. We will not be staying for a category 3, thank you very much. We will board up and take a vacation to someplace the storm isn't. A Cat 1 or 2 storm will topple your trees on your house. But a higher hurricane category? Trees won't stay put, and winds are mercurial, so that gorgeous live oak down the street might end up in your bedroom. The people that died the night of the storm mostly died because of trees falling on their houses. I'll take a strong pass on that.
But for a Cat 1 or 2, we will stay again, because Wilmington became an island after the storm. People who left are still having trouble returning. At one point, nothing but helicopters or boats could pass the flooding damage to roads and bridges, and for a few scary hours, we waited to hear if the water company would receive the necessary fuel to keep the water on. Next storm that we decide to stay for we will buy a generator. Our wonderful neighbor allowed us to hook our refrigerator up to his for the two days we were out of power (most were out of power for a week,) so our experience post #Florence was more glamping, than roughing it, and for that I'll be forever grateful.
The final thing I'll be doing is not panicking for days on end. My husband and I spent so much energy panicking, that by the time the storm left and all was (reasonably) well for us as a family, we were spent. Doesn't leave much for cleanup tasks.
It was a historic storm. We survived. The flood waters haven't crested yet in the Cape Fear River downtown, so needless to say, the cleanup hasn't begun for most businesses. Schools are still closed, and will be for another week, but businesses are beginning to open elsewhere, and life is starting to seem familiar again.
What I want to know is: "Is this the new normal?" I hope not. Meteorologists describe #Florence as "historic" so that suggests maybe Wilmington won't have to deal with this every year, but who knows? Certainly not North Carolina. "A new law in North Carolina will ban the state from basing coastal policies on the latest scientific predictions of how much the sea level will rise, prompting environmentalists to accuse the state of disrespecting climate science." abcnews.go.com/US/north-carolina-bans-latest-science-rising-sea-level/story?id=16913782 It sure would be nice if NC would get out of the way of our state's scientists so they can seek solutions to what might be, after all, a new normal.
A special shout out to @StarNews. A few days ago, when I saw this (below) on my driveway, I knew the worst was over. #SupportLocalNewsPapers
Repped by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.