Before the Storm
Hurricane Matthew paid us a visit in early October. Jim and I were at the Palmetto Beach House doing our post season maintenance. It was an unexpected experience for us Ohioans! We are much more accustomed to dealing with winter snow and ice.
The week prior to our scheduled maintenance was my annual beach girls trip! We had glorious weather and we thoroughly enjoyed the beach, the pool and Charleston dining all week.
Shortly after Jim arrived, talk of the approaching storm began. Hurricane Matthew formed late in September 2016 and grew to a category 5 strength with 160mph winds by September 30th. It made landfall in Haiti and Cuba on October 4th as a category 4. Matthew hit the Bahamas hard October 5th as a category 3 and 4 hurricane and then moved up the east coast of the United States finally making landfall on October 8th.
All that to say, we had time to prepare.
Preparing for the Storm
Jumping into action, we moved whatever outdoor furniture we could, inside. Those pieces that were too big to fit through the doors were strapped to the poles by the pool. Propane tanks were turned off and latched down. Our front door is actually an old salvage door. Because of the age of the door and the fact that it opens in, we decided to board it up.
Having done all we could, we stayed through Friday afternoon. Then we heeded the evacuation warnings and went inland to Columbia to spend the night with our son and daughter-in-law. We left knowing full well that the outcome of this storm was not in our hands. This home has been a tremendous blessing to us and the many people we have hosted. It never belonged to us and if God chose to blow it away or flood it under a massive tidal surge, it was not up to us. Before we left, we took a walk to watch the angry waves rolling in as the storm approached.
During the Storm
Reportedly, peak wind gusts reached 69mph and total rainfall was about 10 inches the day of the storm. Storm surge was less than expected. Water came up only as far as the end of our sidewalk and stopped. We never had any flooding in the garage!
After the Storm
Saturday, we took our time leaving Columbia and monitored road closure reports. Route 26 was open by mid-afternoon but was littered with many fallen trees. Our travel app, WAZE, came in really handy as it alerted us to “object in the road ahead”.
As property owners on the island, we received hurricane re-entry stickers several years ago, so we were able to get back on the island Saturday when we arrived. I cannot even begin to describe the joy and relief we felt as we drove up to the house and saw that there was no damage. We didn’t even lose a shingle. There was plenty of debris in the yard and the pool was a mess. But using the net and running our little pool robot , we got it cleaned up nicely.
Getting everything put back into place took us awhile but once it was done, we headed out to the see the beach. The 25th street access was flooded so we walked down to the curve and used the boardwalk at 21st street. Again, we were amazed! The beach took a battering and there were many access piers lost but for the most part, very little damage to homes.
A surprise benefit of the storm was the huge display of fairly large and intact shells all along the beach. We were able to collect some great ones to bring back for our granddaughter, Emma.
It is back to business as usual for us. Our October schedule was full and no one cancelled. Guests arrived October 12th and their only inconvenience was the flooded access to the beach. By now, even that is gone. In fact, we took a last minute booking for a group that booked a house in Wild Dunes, but because of hurricane damage, they were cancelled.
We feel abundantly blessed to have weathered this storm so well. We know it could have turned out very different. Returning to Ohio, we had many friends ask us about the storm and why we thought our area had been spared any severe damage. We have no answer for that other than yet another blessing!