Has it only been three days?
It seems so much longer since the winds whipped and the sky opened up. I sat on the porch watching the wind tangle in the trees, making its way toward my little corner, trying to rip the umbrella from my hands. What a foolish thing to have, anyway, an umbrella, in a storm like that. But it was awe inspiring, seeing the trees bend to near breaking, then standing again.
But a mere three miles down the road from my house, eight large pines fell onto power lines. Less than a mile from my house, multiple trees were downed. Just east of us, Hoke County was already experiencing high water. In Cumberland and Robeson Counties, water rescues would shortly be taking place.
We were so fortunate in our area. We aren't in a flood zone. The twenty six hours we lost power and water are nothing compared to what our neighbors to the east and west were going through: major flooding, trapped in their homes, trapped in cars that either sank or were carried away in the currents. Folks are being rescued by helicopter from rooftops, by boat from cars that couldn't make it through, from their homes. In Edgecombe County, the coast guard rescued a labrador retriever that swam and tried to climb a tree.
Ten people in our state, alone, lost their lives during Matthew, with some still unaccounted for.
Never have I seen the likes of this, and I have been in many hurricanes over the course of my life, have huddled in the house and listened to the roof groan and the walls shudder. But this rain, this slow moving innundation has all but brought North Carolina to its knees. The flooding and evacuations will continue through the end of the week as the waters make their way into the Cape Fear River and are fed back to the sea. And even then, it won't be over as the clean up begins.
Gasoline is in short supply due to out of county folks making their way to our area to fill up. Grocery stores are nearly depleted. Traffic is bumper to bumper in small towns as Florida refugees are detoured through to safer routes leading to I95.
I have frantically been trying to get information about my family in Robeson County, which is now underwater. The entire town of Lumberton is flooded. Thankfully, news came this afternoon that they are stranded, but ok for now. We still have no power, water or phones at the prison, and the atmosphere is tense, to say the least, but we will get through this, if we work together.
I think about Haiti, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, our own southern coast, and as bad as things are, I am thankful, so very thankful it wasn't worse, because it could have been.