Getting back home after Matthew

We’d just about gotten back to normal following Hurricane Hermine and Julia when Hurricane Matthew drove up the east coast. Living near the Outer Banks of North Carolina is not the best place to be during hurricane season. Actually, since we purchased this property six years ago we’d had tropical cyclones visit us on an annual basis.

Hurricane Matthew looked like a serious storm, to me anyway, from its onset off the coast of Africa. I’d been watching it from the very beginning. Eventually it formed into a Category 4 storm and was a big one. If you’d placed the cyclone in the center of the Caribbean it would cover that entire sea.

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The weather forecasters were suggesting this massive hurricane was going to poise little problems for those of us near the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the exception of a brush past Cape Hatteras. Many of my friends felt otherwise. Brenda and I decided we’d secure our property, load up the Winnebago and head northwest.

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Our camp at Chippoke State Park

If you’ve followed the news you know the forecasters got this storm wrong. Even though we’d selected a campground 102 miles away from the coast we still got the storm. In fact, we’d discussed driving further west before it hit. However, the forecasters seemed confident our maximum impact might be 1 to 2 inches of rain. Man, by the time Matthew had passed I was thankful we didn’t have a tree on top of our Micro Minnie.

The flooding and damage to North Carolina isn’t 100% the blame of Matthew. Within weeks of Matthew Hermine and Julia had hit us. A lot of folks had forgotten about the water those two storms dropped on the State. When Matthew hit, and Matthew did pack a punch, the already saturated low country couldn’t handle any more water. The result was one of the worst sets of conditions for a hurricane imaginable.

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Rain blowing sideways, a water spout, and waves crashing our bulkhead during Mathew (I’d set a trail camera up facing Little River before we left)

After the storm we added a few more days to our campsite stay. The reports of flooded roads were enough to keep us off them. When we did drive back to our home near Hertford, NC was passed areas that were severely wrecked.

There were houses with water up to their first floor windows. Cars in water leaving only the roof of the vehicle exposed. Two of the roads leading to our house remained underwater and cars could only pass driving single file, slowly, in the middle of the road.

A week later we drove into Elizabeth City. Their flooded streets and homes remained blocked and barricaded. Friends in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach told us that in their area ditches are now creeks and creeks are rivers.

Hurricane season 2016 is nearly past. Currently, Hurricane Nicole is moving away, never a danger to the US, and a yet unnamed (but numbered) storm in the Caribbean may develop as it moves toward the Bahamas. Like many others, I hope this is it for 2016 and that we get a break in the future.

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This River Otter seemed happy to see us returned home.

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