Hurricane Florence Update
The past week has been full of all kinds of busyness. First, preparing ourselves for the arrival of Hurricane Florence: bottles of water, bread, snacks… and more snacks. Because if the weather is formidable outside, what else should you do but eat, right? We take “comfort food” to a whole new level here in eastern NC.
And if you follow me on Instagram, then you would have also seen all of our backyard preparations. You never know how much stuff you have in the backyard, until you’re trying to secure it all in a garage or storage building. All of the trellises, tomato cages, stakes, etc all had to come out of the garden, as well as non-ceramic planters and patio furniture. Let’s just say, I got my cardio and strength training in. And while the projections for Hurricane Flo kept steadily decreasing in intensity, we wanted to be prepared. Nobody wants a flower pot coming through a window, right?
Y’all, I really can’t complain about the storm itself. Yes, there were strong winds and rain, but most of the strong weather we received came during the day. If you’ve ever been in a hurricane, then you know this is a big deal. Trying to sleep during a hurricane or see outside to assess the tree situation is all but impossible in the dark. Thankfully we were able to keep an eye on things Friday, and had power for most of the day.
During Hurricane Matthew, two years ago, our crawl space flooded and this is where a majority of our duct work is for our HVAC unit. It all had to be ripped out and replaced at that point, and it was only 4 years old. So, shortly after Matthew, we had gutters installed to keep water from pooling near our crawl space door and the foundation of the house. In preparation for Florence, I’d picked up sandbags to put around the crawlspace door just in case.
Come 9pm on Friday night, my husband comes inside to tell me that the crawlspace was again full of water. Unbelievable. This led us to assess where the water was actually coming from, since the gutters had done an amazing job of keeping the water from the roof away from the foundation. The area around our crawlspace door was dry. What we began to realize is the water was coming up through the ground and also from one area next to the house. Unfortunately, this area was next to the garden.
Our Garden Area
Our kitchen garden is about 8 to 10 feet away from the side of our house, and over the last four years, we’ve slowly added beds and a raised bed fence around them. This fence works so well to keep out critters, but as we discovered a few days ago, in times of torrential rain, it actually traps water between the garden and the house. I was literally standing in at least 10 inches of water in this area Friday night. And unfortunately, that water was contributing to our crawl space flooding. Fun times!
So there are now discussions underway, between the hubs and me, about relocating the garden to the side of the house, and regrading this area to flow water away from the house. It sounds like a good idea, and I’ll keep you updated on how we’ll move it all. So all in all, we fared well. So many people lost (or will lose) so much more, and we are counting our blessings and helping those who need it.
The town that we live in has a river that flows through it, the Neuse River. During Matthew, she overflowed her banks in a major way, a 100-year flood, that had last occured in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. I know you can do math as well as I can, and there certainly were not 100 years between 1999 and 2016. After Hurricane Matthew, our town watched for a week while the river slowly rose to its unbelievable flood level. The bridge below usually has at least 20 feet of clearance between it and the river, even when it’s high. (This is from October 2016, after Hurricane Matthew.)
We are now experiencing another such flood, so I think the descriptor of 100 year flood no longer applies. Here are some images from our city posted by a local news source, Neuse News. You can see the same bridge I posted above, and one of the parks my little gardeners love to play at:
And here’s another video published by the News and Observer:
Many of our neighboring towns, New Bern, Fayetteville, and Wilmington, have been significantly impacted as well. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated, and we know many states and organizations have sent help in the form of workers, supplies, and funds. So, thank you! If you would like to contribute to Hurricane Florence relief efforts, please follow this link to the American Red Cross which has established shelters and other helps for victims of the hurricane and subsequent flooding.
Have a great week!