Normally, when we have hurricane warnings/watches and the winds roar, I get horrified and do not sleep. Not with Hurricane Florence. I’ve slept really great every night, including last night. I awoke after 9:00am this morning. Really strange. Today looks like a normal day in Charleston, SC. We have gray clouds while the sun is fighting to return. No roaring winds sounding like a wild tiger or a freight train. Only a slight whisper of wind. My Lantana moves only slightly. So, I suppose normalcy has returned.
Last night when I awoke in the middle of the night, I turned the TV to Direct TV channel 362, THE WEATHER CHANNEL, just to see what was happening. I must’ve fallen back to sleep before realizing what was on. I do that a lot when I have insomnia. The funny thing about Florence was I slept. I wasn’t afraid. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through at least five hurricanes, staying for all of them:
Hurricane Hugo, September, 1989 – stayed with 62 students at a historical building downtown
Hurricane Floyd, September, 1999 – we attempted to leave due to a ‘mandatory evacuation’. I packed up only one item. My father’s rocking chair, given to him by Sandpiper Convalescent Center when we was crowned “Mr. Sandpiper!” He passed away on July 6, 1999. The grief was so traumatic for me, I wanted something sentimental to take with me. My husband shook his head, tied the chair to the back of his SUV so it would not roll around and off we went. We stayed in a traffic jam for 10 hours, moving only 57 miles! Traffic was such a nightmare we decided to find a hotel. If you’ve read my stories regarding Hurricane Florence, you might remember the hotel for Hurricane Floyd was more of a place where entertainment of a certain type might happen. We were desperate. Exhausted. The next morning, we came home, deciding from now on, we will remain home whenever a ‘mandatory evacuation’ is ordered. Just what will they do to us if we don’t leave? NOTHING! Floyd had turned over night. Charleston was safe. We drove home in less than 45 minutes!
Hurricane Matthew, October, 2016 – we stayed. I failed to sleep. Matthew kissed the coast as a category one storm, causing flooding.
Hurricane Irma, 2017 – we stayed.
Hurricane Florence, September, 2018 – so thankful we stayed. We considered leaving. After realizing that many of the hurricanes coming to Charleston, turn inland we chose to stay. Hugo turned in to Charlotte. Floyd – ? Sorry, I don’t remember and I’m much too tired to research now.
Will we stay for the next hurricane? Probably. For now, I simply want to thank God for keeping us safe. Lumberton, North Carolina is flooded again. I have friends living in Wilmington. Reportedly, they cannot get out to leave, calling for rescue. My prayers are with them.
As for Charleston, South Carolina? We were blessed. Walking outside, I discovered I do not have any yard debris to clean. It’s just another day in our neck of the woods.
Schools are opening. Phil is working today, and I imagine the traffic jams have returned. Just another day. Goodbye Florence. Soon Hurricane Florence will be history. My heart breaks for those who will have to file with FEMA. After the Hundred Year storm of October, 2015, we had damage, only to discover our wind and hail damage was not covered by State Farm insurance adjusters.?? We had wind and hail insurance. Not covered??? I was told the ‘regulations recently changed.’ My response: “rest assured, my insurance company will change!” Reluctantly, I filed with FEMA only to be told our home was still in ‘livable condition,’ so they could not assist us. I filed three times. Finally, I researched SBA Disaster Relief.
My advice to those who will be forced to fight with insurance companies is this: You must be diplomatic. Contact the insurance company requesting letters from them, then you can file with FEMA. It isn’t an easy process, just document all phone calls to them. Names. Response…Time…Everything! I really doubt if many of those affected during Florence will have flood insurance. If not, they should buy flood insurance for the next hurricane since history reveals hurricanes hitting the southeast coast turn inland and there is where the major damage occurs.
Meanwhile, I pray we will not have more loss of lives. I haven’t listened to the news broadcast this morning. I suppose I could say, I am burned out! Hopeful, today is a new day!