A storm of biblical proportions never seen in the history of mankind is set to make a direct hit on Greensboro and is almost certain to entirely destroy the entire city.
– Wednesday, Sept.12.
A quote I completely made up,
but one that conveys the
sense of approaching terror
just before Hurricane Florence.
Well, the hurricane has come and gone, and, though it certainly did some damage here, we lucked out compared to other places and we also lucked out compared to how it could have been.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, all the weather people and the newscasters had me so incredibly freaked out that I was running around the grocery store with everyone else trying to find and grab every drop of bottled water I could even though the mayor of Greensboro had issued a direct order for people not to do so.
I was also, of course, trying to grab up any bread and milk I could find, just as the emergency professionals advise you to do. As I’m sure you know, if a storm is a major one, you want to have as many perishable food items in your house as you can.
That day, the weather forecasters were saying that Hurricane Florence was coming right for us and it would likely be the biggest storm ever to hit Greensboro. When I got to the Harris Teeter on Lawndale, there was no bread, no milk, no water. Amazingly, even the expensive Fiji, Voss and other top-end water brands were completely gone. Do you have any idea how scary things have to be for North Carolinians to be buying up the fancy bottled water at 8 bucks a six-pack? It has to be very, very, scary indeed.
And, when these types of disasters happen, I usually try to stay calm, but things got to such a fever pitch last week in the days leading up to the storm that I got caught up in it like everyone else. I feel kind of bad because, while there was no water on the shelves, I noticed an 80-year-old lady who’d put what was apparently the last case in her cart and, while she was leaning over to get some cat food, I grabbed the water from her shopping cart and was gone before she turned back around. Trust me when I say I did not feel good about it at all, but I will point out that, at the time, the storm was expected to be much worse than it turned out to be.
I felt especially bad about it after the storm had come and gone and there was no major disaster here; because you certainly don’t want to do something like that to an elderly woman unless there’s a very good justification for doing so.
If you are that lady, I apologize, but I would just remind you once again that the predictions were that the storm would be much worse than it was. So, really, if you think about it, it’s the weather forecasters, not me, who are responsible for that incident.
Besides, it wasn’t just me who was panicking: There were signs of panic everywhere. For instance, the Harris Teeter was completely cleared out of paper towels. Paper towels! Why in the world would everyone fight for paper towels before a storm? What are you going to do – use them to absorb the floodwater as it approaches your door? OK, maybe if you have Bounty with its extra absorbency – but do you really think the flimsy Harris Teeter store brand is going to help you in a deluge.
Here was another sign of panic I saw. People, realizing that they could be trapped in their homes for days, cleaned Total Wine out of water – but, amazingly, in their panic, they left on the shelves a great deal of wine, beer and other alcohol – which is the one liquid that would truly be a godsend if you end up trapped for days in your house with your family members.
Friday, afternoon – with the storm on the way and with the wind and rain picking up – I made it home and, just before 5 p.m., my power went out. I called Duke Energy and there was a recording that said that the hurricane was causing outages and then it said that, in my area, there were 111 houses without power. They were assessing the problem, they said, but didn’t know when the power would be restored.
I was trying to figure out how I was going to survive with no power and with just one case of bottled water and an infinite supply of water from the kitchen tap.
The power came back on about 45 minutes later but it was truly harrowing and for a while my very survival was in doubt. It was extremely traumatic. I told myself that, the next time a hurricane hits, I will have a plan in place, and now I think I’ve found one.
I was watching the people on the coast live on their sailboats and, on Fox 8 News, on Friday, they showed some people who not only stayed in Morehead City – but they rode out the storm on their boats in the harbor.
I hadn’t thought of that but it seems like a really great idea and the next time we have a giant hurricane, I’m going to head for the coast and ride it out on a boat. Because, you know, the storm probably would not think to look for you there.
It makes sense if you think about it.