Tick.. tick.. tick.., the inexorable progress of a monster storm is a metric that now resonates in our minds. We know the sun shines, the coffee shops in Charleston are open, but the conversation has changed as has the reason for our days. Hurricane Irma has mugged our minds. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is, as always, factual. Heck lets put drama aside for a minute, those NOAA scientists, you have to love them - calmly and methodically doing their job. The perfect foil for every news anchorman or woman that was ever born. This storm is going to be bad, but we don’t live in Barbuda which took a direct hit from Irma just days ago as a powerful Category 5. This is going to be difficult - but it was, to an extent, last time as well, and we are still here. Hurricane Irma is coming and this is our story so far ...
Charleston took on a calm air this morning, leastwise Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery, the South of Broad coffee bar that we often frequent. 4 old boys, 1/4 millennia between them chuckled quietly into their coffee mumbling of storms past and life when electricity was the exception rather than the norm. Broad Street was, to be fair, ominously quiet. The phone company should owe us a rebate - it rang so little. A periodic forecast update from NOAA was broadcast on permanent viewing. A slightly weird, "beggar thy neighbor" attitude pervaded in our feelings when the direct path moved away from Charleston SC to areas nearby. Then the guilt kicked in, that if it was not going to be us after all, it was in fact going to be someone else in the storm's direct path. Those likely less practiced at the prep than Charlestonians - as we've done this drill many times. We focus on the needs of our clients and their properties first, as we did last year when Hurricane Matthew came calling. No drama and histrionics here, just closing up, fixing shutters and checking on the empty place next door.
It’s not really the wind that frightens us; it's not the lack of power or hardship. All those elements we will embrace as they are the things that build us up, they build relationships and communities like little else can in these days of 21st century plenty. What frightens us, is the tidal surge. This is the low country for a reason, it's low and as flat as a breakfast pancake. What comes in will come in with a vengeance and go out with the tide. For those on the barrier islands, the eastern coastline will see the worst, take the crest of high tide, add the surge height and then add the breaking waves where waves really should not be. I’m not sure what will happen on the barrier islands of Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Edisto Island, but do expect some mandatory evacuations to be declared tomorrow. And for those who choose to stay? This is the land of the free after all, though with freedom comes responsibility - so be mindful of calling on the aid of first responders should you find yourself in a predicament.
Friday and Saturday we will seal up what we can and move inside anything that may take flight. Come what may, we have our plan A and B in place. Plan C is still in development. We have sent our staff home today and wished them "godspeed."
When shorn of our internet shopping and the trivia of life, when stripped of our lattes and barred from our Pilates, nature presents us with both challenge and opportunities. My father used a phrase sometimes, "Delapsus resurgam," I’m sure my Latin has suffered in time and in the telling, but the intent remains true - "When I Fall, I Shall Arise." Welcome to Charleston.
Note: We will continue to keep you posted as Hurricane Irma’s path becomes more certain. It seems for now that Charleston no longer sits in the direct path of the storm, but a lot can happen in the 3 days that remain. Paths can shift, but planning is key. In the meantime, if there's anything you have questions about, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We've had plenty of experience in this sort of preparation ... you can also post your questions or comments on the blog below.
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