Here’s the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located by NOAA Doppler radar and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 34.0 North, longitude 76.8 West. 50 miles south of Moorehead City, 60 miles east-south-east of Wilmington, North Carolina. Florence is moving toward the northwest near 6 mph (9 km/h).
Data from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft, coastal surface observations, and NOAA Doppler radar indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected before Florence core moves inland on Friday.
A turn toward the west-northwest and west at a slow forward speed is expected through Friday, followed by a slow west-southwestward motion Friday night and Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Florence is expected to move inland across extreme southeastern North Carolina and extreme eastern South Carolina Tonight, Friday and Saturday. Florence will then recurve across the western Carolinas and the central Appalachian Mountains early next week.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground:
- Cape Fear NC to Cape Lookout NC: 7-11 ft, with locally higher amounts in the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo, and Bay Rivers
- Cape Lookout NC to Ocracoke Inlet NC: 6-9 ft
- South Santee River SC to Cape Fear NC: 4-6 ft
- Ocracoke Inlet NC to Salvo NC: 4-6 ft
- Salvo NC to Duck NC: 2-4 ft
- Edisto Beach SC to South Santee River SC: 2-4 ft
For those who are in the path of the storm, there comes a time when all options are removed and you enter the “Hunkering Down” phase. You’re there now. This storm is going to last for quite a while; and the backside storm surge has the potential to be much larger over time. This is going to be a long-duration event.
When the winds reach around 40mph, the utility company will likely, proactively, shut down the power. This makes things a heck of a lot safer in the aftermath; and much easier and safer during the rebuild. It is almost a guarantee you did not lose power due to damage from the storm but rather because of proactive measures from your power company. Do not expect the power to be turned back on until it is safe.
Hurricanes can be frightening; downright scary. There’s nothing quite like going through a few to reset your outlook on just how Mother Nature can deliver a cleansing cycle to an entire geographic region. The sounds are scary, especially in the dark. Try to stay calm despite the nervousness. Telephone and power poles, yes, even the concrete ones, can, and likely will, snap like toothpicks. Trees will bend and break; the sounds are dramatic.
There’s a specific sound when you are inside a hurricane that you can never forget. It ain’t a howl, it’s a roar. It is very unique sound in depth and weight. Yes, within a hurricane wind has weight. Stay clear of windows and doors. That scary roar sounds like it won’t ever quit…. it will… eventually; but at the time you are hunkering down, it doesn’t seem like it will ever end.
A constant and pure rage of wind that doesn’t ebb and flow like normal wind and storms. Hurricane wind is heavy, it starts and stays; sometimes for hours. Relentless, it just won’t let up. And then, depending on her irrelevant opinion toward your insignificant presence, hopefully she stops.
Then silence. No birds. No frogs. No crickets. No sound.
Nature goes mute. It’s weird.
We have no idea how much ambient noise is around us, until it stops.
Oh, if she wants, she’ll keep dumping buckets on you as she wanders away. Buckets. Not pails, garbage can sized buckets. After the scour, yup, nature too has a rinse cycle.
If your town, city or hamlet is not underwater, there will be convoys coming to construct a pre-planned electricity grid recovery process. Convoys from every city, town and state from the east-coast to the mid-west. A glorious melding of dirty fingernails all arriving for the meet-up. Depending on your proximity to the bigger picture objectives at hand, you will cherish their arrival.
But first, there will be an assessment. The convoys will stage at pre-determined locations using radios for communication. Street-by-street everything needs to be evaluated prior to thinking about beginning to rebuild a grid. Your patience within this process is needed; heck, it ain’t like you’ve got a choice in the matter…. so just stay positive.
Meanwhile, you might walk outside and find yourself a stranger in your neighborhood.
It will all be cattywampus.
Trees gone, crap everywhere, if you don’t need to travel, DON’T.
I mean CRAP e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
Stay away from power-lines.
Be entirely prepared to be lost in your own neighborhood and town for days, weeks, and even months. Unknown to you – your subconscious mind is like a human GPS mapping system. When that raging Florence takes away the subconscious landmarks I guarantee you – you are gonna get lost, make wrong turns, miss the exit etc.
It’s kinda funny and weird at the same time.
Your brain is wired to turn left at the big oak next to the Church, and the road to your house is likely two streets past the 7-11 or Circle-k. You don’t even notice that’s how you travel around town; that’s just your brain working – it is what it is.
Well, now the big oak is gone; so too is the Circle-K and 7-11 signs. Like I said, everything is cattywampus. Your brain-memory will need to reboot and rewire. In the interim, you’re gonna get lost… don’t get frustrated.
Remember, when it is safe to drive, every single intersection must be treated like a four-way stop…. and YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION. Even the major intersections.
You’ll need to override your brain tendency to use memory in transit. You’ll need to pay close attention and watch for those who ain’t paying close attention. Travel sparingly, it’s just safer.
Check on your-self first, then your neighbors. It don’t matter if you’ve never said a word to the guy in the blue house before. It ain’t normalville now.
Break out of your box and check on the blue house down the street too. In the aftermath, there’s no class structure. Without power, the big fancy house on the corner with a pool is just a bigger mess. Everyone is equally a mess.
The first responders in your neighborhood are YOU.
You, the wife, your family, Mrs. Wilson next door; Joe down the street; Bob’s twin boys and the gal with the red car are all in this together. If you don’t ordinarily cotton to toxic masculinity you will worship it in the aftermath of a hurricane. Git-r-done lives there.
Don’t stand around griping with a 40′ tree blocking the main road to your neighborhood. Figure out who’s got chainsaws and set about clearing the road. If every neighborhood starts clearing their own roadways, the recovery crews can then move in for the details.
Stage one focuses on major arteries… then secondary… then neighborhood etc. It’s a process. Oh, and don’t get mad if your fancy mailbox is ploughed-over by a focused front end loader who is on a priority mission to clear a path. Just deal with it.
Phase-1 recovery is necessarily, well, scruffy…. we’re just moving and managing the mess; not trying to clean it up yet. It’ll be ok.
Keep a joyous heart filled with thankfulness; and if you can’t muster it, then just pretend. Don’t be a jerk. You will be surrounded by jerks…. elevate yourself. If you need to do a few minutes of cussing, take a walk. Keep your wits about you and stay calm.
Now, when the recovery teams arrive…. If you pass a line-man, pole-digger or crew say thanks. Just simple “thanks”. Wave at them and give them a thumbs-up. No need to get all unnecessarily familiar, a simple “thank you for your help” will generally suffice. You know, ordinary people skills.
Many of these smaller crews will be sleeping in cots, or in their trucks while they are working never-ending shifts. If you eventually start getting power back, and see a crew in a restaurant, same thing applies… “thanks guys”. If you can pay their tab, do it. If you can pay their tab without them knowing, even better.
Same goes for the tanker truckers. The convenience stores with gas pumps are part of the priority network. Those will get power before other locales without power. Fuel outlets are a priority. Hospitals, first responders, emergency facilities, fuel outlets, then comes commercial and residential.
Remember, you are the first responder for your neighborhood. Don’t quit.
Recovery is a process. Depending on the scale of the impact zone, the process can take days, weeks and even months. Take care of your family, friends and neighborhood, and generally make a conscious decision to be a part of any needed solution.
It’ll be ok.
It might be a massive pain in the a**, but in the end, it’ll be ok.
Keep a good thought. Who knows, we might even end up shaking hands.
It’ll be OK. Promise.