Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew: the Cleanup

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
This ought to be the last Matthew post I do, thank goodness.

After a great stay in Atlanta meeting with friends of the blog and podcast, I packed up and drove all day, arriving home around 1 am. (This is why there was no post yesterday and why a post written on Tuesday is being back-dated to Monday.)

Driving home was uneventful save for the last few miles, where branches had been blown off trees and were sticking out into the right-hand lane. Fortunately for me, I saw them in time and they were easy enough to avoid, but someone who was not paying attention (or who had trouble seeing dark objects by the side of the road at night) might hit them and damage a tire.

My family is in good health (including my dogs) and the house is in remarkably good shape. I haven't yet gone up on the roof to check for missing tiles, but here is the extent of the damage so far:

Our old TV aerial was ripped out by the mounting bracket. We hardly used it, but it was a nice backup to the dish when weather interfered with satellite connection.

It fell and hit this tree, hurting it severely. This is rough on mom because she plants a new tree every time one of our dogs died. This is Shadow's tree. (He was a purebred black German Shepherd, 1996-2006. Shadow was a Good Dog.)

You can see where the wind did a number on the trellis behind the yard light. The light itself isn't working due to water damage; when the trellis fell, it tilted the light cover up and exposed it to the elements. To avoid potential shorts or electrocution, we aren't using it until it's looked at by an electrician.

Today is trash day. Our usual load is two bins and a trash can; everything to the left of the trash can is "yard trash": leaves, branches, etc that were blown off our trees, or into our yard from elsewhere.

We got off light for three reasons:
  1. Matthew was a Category 3 when it hit ut
  2. The eye never made landfall
  3. We live 8.5 miles from the ocan. 
But the beachside took a total beating. Take a look at these:

What you are looking at is State Road A1A, which parallels the ocean from Key West to Georgia, undermined to its centerline. This is doubly impressive when you learn that the topography isn't just "road, then beach". Here's a pre-Matthew picture of the same approximate view as the above picture:

What you have there is room for a car to park on the shoulder, followed by a hammock, followed by coquina rock. Combine that with a 12-foot width of an American traffic lane, and this means that Matthew scoured away at least 36 feet of rock, sand and soil during its stay here.

Remember, Matthew was a Category 3 and did not make landfall. Imagining what would happen if it had come ashore at a Category 4, I'm thinking that A1A would have just ceased to exist. Right now, the damage to both Flagler and Volusia counties is estimated at $425 million and climbing. They're probably going to try to restore the beach to its original condition, and I'm just thinking How about a nice concrete sea wall?

Finally, here is a picture I took of the gathering storm clouds Wednesday night, the day before I evacuated. Pretty, in an ominous kind of way.

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