Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Hurricane That Won't Go Away

A gorgeous full moon hung over the Atlantic Ocean at nightfall this Sunday as I began my second walk of Ellie dawg since a harrowing return Thursday night from a full week my wife Allyne and I spent in what we thought would be safe shelter from Hurricane Florence's assault on the Carolinas.

With Nature displaying such beauty atop the beachscape, it was difficult to comprehend the reality that at this very moment, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people were sandbagging their homes or heeding warnings to flee them as Florence delivers fresh rounds of flooding in coastal Carolina.

My limited understanding is that a hurricane's storm surge sends mega-tons of water inland, and even up rivers as happened devastatingly at New Bern, N.C.; then, at some point, some of that water gravitates back to the ocean, generating new waves of flooding. Of course, torrential rains relentless add to the buildup of water. And sometimes swollen rivers flow into and merge with other rivers. Basically, all that water has to go someplace.

It has been flooding now for 11 days and in some areas, such as nearby Conway, S.C., rivers will not crest until later this week. Schools will be closed for another week. The level of flooding exceeds previous records set by Hurricane Matthew two years ago.

My own family is fortunate in being safe so far from the flood waters.

Our chosen evacuation zone -- Richmond, Va., our former long-time home -- turned out not to be exempt from the furies unleashed by Hurricane Flo. A few days after our arrival, Richmond experienced an unprecedented outbreak of tornadoes spun up by the hurricane -- easily more than a dozen -- causing property destruction and the loss of a life (a good man who was trying to help others get out of danger's path). On the way to dinner at a nice restaurant, the Greek Tavernas, we headed through torrential rain and winds suggesting tornado nearby. And at the exact moment we entered the eatery, a huge lightning strike knocked out the computers, meaning all customers had to pay cash. Despite that, we felt welcome.

Our one real haven for the week was Aunt Sarah's Pancake House, which was founded in Richmond in 1962 and back then was our family's go-to place for a breakfast feast much beloved by our son Bobby and daughter Kristy. Sarah's pancakes are simply perfect. Of course the eggs are cooked to order, and you can choose link or patty sausages. (Links for me!) The first morning that Allyne and I dined at Aunt Sarah's, a lady in the next booth overheard us talking about the hurricane back in South Carolina and engaged us in conversation. When it came time to pay our bill, we were told it had been paid by this nice lady before she left. We much appeciated the kindness and caring spirit.

Our guardian angel was an Aunt Sarah's waitress, Vicki, who greeted us warmly every day and chatted with us about family and conditions back home. She was like a family member herself by the time we departed Richmond. Wish Vicki could join us for a nice seafood dinner tomorrow as we celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary.

The story of how son Bobby flew to Richmond to drive us back to Myrtle Beach via a crazy-long western-Carolina detour around flooded I-95 and then at a snail's pace through an already flooding Conway is another story I will save for another blogpost.

Meanwhile, our prayers go to all people who have suffered and are still being hurt by this hurricane that won't go away.

                        © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)

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