For the most part, the Triangle got really lucky with Hurricane Florence. Now a tropical storm, Florence had limited impact here, knocking out some power and knocking down some trees but otherwise not causing too much trouble. We’ll learn more about possible flooding soon, including Raleigh’s Crabtree Creek, which always floods. Some of the car dealerships near the creek moved their inventory elsewhere, having long since learned hard lessons. Crabtree Valley Mall, which typically floods in bad weather, may do so again.
The eastern part of the state wasn't nearly as lucky.
A lot of people decided to ride it out and had an awful time of it. Five people have died so far, a hotel in Jacksonville had to be evacuated as the roof collapsed, and New Bern and Wilmington took heavy hits.
New Bern is a poster child for disaster area. One of North Carolina’s quieter gems, sitting right on the Neuse river, New Bern is one of the prettiest small towns you could hope to find. It’s simply gorgeous.
Nicholas Sparks thought so too, and built a huge house right on the river. That may not have done well.
The storm has moved on to South Carolina and we’ll know more about the damage there soon. However, it’s not done with North Carolina.
The storm reportedly will drop 17 trillion gallons of water before it’s done and a fair amount of that is going to fall in the mountains. Small point of interest here: the Eastern Continental Divide is marked on Highway 21, not too long after you climb into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The rain that falls to the west drains to the Gulf of Mexico; the water to the east goes to the Atlantic.
The rain that falls on the right side of that line is going to find its ways to streams and tributaries and rivers before coming back down to the Piedmont and the coastal plain, which means that a second round of massive flooding will come down the rivers and hit hundreds of thousands of people, including the 30,000 or so who just got hammered in New Bern.
So while the Triangle got very lucky, people Down East, not to mention in South Carolina, are going to be picking up the pieces for a long time.
A lot of people are helping, including, bless them, the Cajun Navy. Nobody is paying these people. They hooked up their boats and drove up here, just like they drove to Houston after Harvey, and started pulling people out of the water.
They really are the best damn people. If you get a chance to do something nice for them along the way or when they get here, please do it.
And they aren’t alone of course. After Hurricane Fran, one of the most beautiful sites was a convoy of trucks coming in on I-40 and the trucks were from all over: Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico.
As always, churches across the region and nation are digging deep and sending supplies and the Red Cross is here too.
If you can, please consider finding a way to help too. People are still running on adrenaline and fear right now, but soon enough the enormity of what has happened will sink in and grief and despair will soon follow. If you can do anything to help, whether through your church, or giving to the Red Cross, or giving whatever you can however you can, no matter how much, your help will be treasured. People in this state are particularly good about organizing help for others, whether in New Orleans, Houston, Haiti or whoever disaster strikes and help is needed. Anyone who has been here for any length of time knows that nearly every church has a relief van ready to go at any time.
Please consider paying it forward for North Carolina in a time of true need.
Do whatever works for you but here’s the Red Cross Web site.