Friday, October 7, 2016

No Longer a Watch: Hurricane Matthew Days 4-5

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Hi, everyone. I'm fine. The reason you didn't hear from me yesterday is that after waking up and determining that Matthew was still going to make landfall too close to my home, I left the media event where I was a guest (and so did everyone else, really -- they closed the hotel where we were staying for mandatory evacuation) to go home and pack.

I am pleased to announce that I loaded up my car and was ready to go within 2 hours. This is impressive considering that I have a cute little 2-door coupe that isn't really suitable for hauling much. The bad news is that I never imagined I'd have to load ALL of the stuff into just my car, because I always figured that in the event of such a hurricane, I'd have at least one adult coming with me and we could share space.

That was a failure of imagination on my part, as both of my parents decided not to evacuate, choosing to risk injury or death rather than the inconvenience of sitting in stop and go traffic for however many hours it took to reach safety. Needless to say, I was astounded by this (and it will be the subject of another post), but I felt that just because they had chosen to die that I wasn't obligated to jon them in a suicide pact.

So I got in my car and headed northwest, away from the storm. I took back roads, and even so I was stuck in traffic for several hours, but I felt that even an inch away from the storm was an improvement. My initial goal had been to take shelter in Tallahassee with my family, as it was a both out of the path of Matthew and a place likely to have hotels or shelters available, since when I learned it was just me I decided to head up to Georgia and stay at a friend's house for a few days.

My reasoning for this was simple: I was likely to be nervous wreck Thursday night/Friday morning as I waited on news of the storm strike, and my choices were
  1. Be a nervous wreck in Tallahassee, where no one would give a damn about me, or
  2. Travel an additional 5+ hours into Georgia and stay with friends who would feed me and comfort me and take care of me. 
From my perspective, that's a no-brainer, so I drove all afternoon and evening to arrive in Smyrna, GA at 10 pm, which is where I am now. 

On Friday (today), I called my parents at 10 am to see if they were all right. I couldn't get them on the land line, but I tried dad's cell, and he answered. He said they'd lost power (and, apparently, telephone lines) at 7 am, but other than sitting in the dark and being bored, he and mom and our dogs were fine. Of course, the full force of the storm also hadn't hit them yet, just rain from the feeder bands, 

Fortunately for them, Matthew came ashore much further south than expected, and by the time it hit them (around noon, I believe) it was merely a Category 3 storm -- which at least isn't a major storm. Considering that my biggest worry for them was wind damage, this makes me feel somewhat better. 

I haven't called them yet, although I plan to try later tonight. I want to call them right now, of course, but I choose not to because the phone lines need to be left free for people who are calling for help and for the first responders who are coming to rescue them. Things ought to have calmed down by about 8pm tonight. 

I have no idea how long I will be up here in Smyrna, GA. It will depend on how much damage Matthew does to the infrastructure (blocked roads, downed power lines, etc) and whether or not my family is still alive. I will probably be staying here over the weekend; perhaps longer if I have no home to which I can return. 

In the meantime, I am playing Prettiest Little Prepper Refugee Princess up here in Georgia, where I plan to meet up with friends of the blog and even attend the anniversary party of a prepping store in the next town over. If you'd like to meet with me this weekend, let me know!

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