That title is not to imply that we lacked for adventure last week when Hurricane Matthew had us in his sights. We live in evacuation zone A on the South Carolina coast – that is the zone closest to the ocean and so the first to be evacuated. On Tuesday, the governor called for all zones to evacuate to somewhere 100 miles from the coast. By Wednesday she had modified this to a Zone A evacuation beginning immediately. We made arrangements to evacuate to a friend’s house in Myrtle Beach about nine miles from the coast, but we were in no hurry to leave and kept hoping the forecast would change in our favor. This led me to studying the new spaghetti charts (for those of you who don’t have to worry about hurricanes, the spaghetti charts are the hurricane path as predicted by some twenty different computer models) as they were updated every six hours. These models kept predicting Matthew would turn out to sea somewhere around Charleston which would reduce the impact on us. By Thursday, when Susan took her walk around the neighborhood, there were just six other cars left in the development (which has hundreds of units). Finally, we evacuated on Friday afternoon. The roads were deserted, so my worries about being stuck in traffic with fellow evacuees were unfounded.
The wind and rain didn’t begin until the middle of Saturday morning. We then started watching the hurricane coverage and didn’t stop watching until we lost power about eight hours later. Matthew never made the predicted turn out to sea. It actually made landfall a little north of Charleston and then plowed straight up the coast into North Carolina. Normally, the winds are weaker after the eye passes you. Do to an approaching cold front from the west, the winds were much stronger on the back side of this hurricane. Things were settling down by about 6 PM, but the exit roads from our refuge were flooded so there was no possibility of returning home.
We went home Sunday morning with only a few minor floods to drive through. Our home escaped essentially unscathed. We had about 18 inches of water in the storage room on the ground floor which got into my bucket of tools. There were a few shingles in the back yard, but they don’t seem to be from our unit. And we had power! The friends we had been staying with evacuated to our house Sunday night as they still had no power.
The HOA has cleaned the debris from the front of our unit. It will be weeks or months before the coast will recover. There are trees down everywhere. Traffic lights are turned in the wrong direction. Signs are upside down, crooked, fallen over, and gone. Of the dozens of walkways to the beach in our immediate area, only one is functional. The others are some variation of this:We lost about fifteen feet of dunes. Still we are thankful that we came through it relatively well.
Saturday, we put Matthew behind us and head to Fort Lauderdale to board a flight to Prague. We are well aware what would have happened to our plans if Matthew arrived a week later. After a few days in Prague on our own, we will join an OAT tour of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. At the end of the tour, we will stay in Budapest for a few more days before flying to Rome to join a Celebrity transatlantic crossing back to Fort Lauderdale. Our friends Jean and Ron from Minnesota will be joining us for the entire trip. While we have traveled together on five international trips, the Fort Lauderdale airport will mark the first time we have met in the USA.
As always, thank you for following our travels and please remember that we love to hear from you!