Déja Veux: Getting Ready for Florence in the Carolinas

Some Storm History …

Back in 1996, North Carolina experienced a devastating one-two punch at just this time of year. First Hurricane Edouard, a Cat I storm, hit us late in August.  Winds were tolerable but, Ed dropped a LOT of rain on us.  Just over a week later, Hurricane Fran made her entry, very much along the same path as Ed.

The result was huge damage when all our longleaf pines started crashing down.  It was estimated that up to 10% of the trees in North Carolina were down or heavily damaged as a result.  I was living in Fayetteville, just outside Ft. Bragg.   Through some stroke of luck my house (with trees downed all around) sat in a very narrow sliver of Cumberland County that did not lose power. The power outage was so profound in central North Carolina that as late as five weeks later, friends from other parts of town were stopping by to shower, wash laundry, and cook a real meal.

Think about no power at your home for more than a month!

Residents were instructed to push our storm debris down to the gutter.  Every street had six- and seven-foot high piles of branches and tree limbs lining the gutters for weeks.  The week before Thanksgiving 1996, two logging companies contracted by the city, moved their entire operation in to clearing all that debris.  Big logging skidders and a convoy of logging trucks went to work and within two days had the entire city clear of debris.  Costs exceed the contingency budget for the city.

Today … In the Bullseye

Graphic courtesy the Weather Channel. Timelines and intensities

Watching Florence narrow its aim on the Carolinas today (Sunday), we have the same sodden ground conditions as in 1996.  This time, rather than a Cat I storm, we are looking down the barrel of Florence at Cat IV (!) when it makes land fall, likely along the Carolina coast.  In addition to heavy tree fall, we can expect significant flooding as Florence moves inland with 100 mile per hour winds and very heavy rain on top of the wettest summer in memory.  The mountains will be in trouble, especially, with normally placid trout streams turning into Class V rapids in many places.

This storm warrants close monitoring and preparations by those in its path.

Tomorrow:  Vets in the Fight Role in the Florence Target Area …

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