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5 Things I Learned From Hurricane Florence

We were very fortunate this week to be spared the worst of Hurricane Florence, but the 5 long days of anticipation taught me a few things:


1. Flags

An American Flag flying upside down is an official distress signal, indicating “dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property”.  The Post Office on the Isle of Palm was flying their flag upside down before they closed up and left town.







The storm flag is a red flag with a black square.  One flag means a tropical storm winds . Flying two flags means hurricane force winds.


I would think any flag whipping at the top of the IOP connector would indicate a storm is present, but now the Carolina Hurricanes alternate sweater makes perfect sense.




2. Water


It is a bad idea to go to the store for water the day they announce a mandatory evacuation.  If it is necessary to stock up on water, fill containers in your house, or better yet – buy water now on sale after the storm and have it on hand for next time.


However, water did not seem to be the most sought-after commodity.  In Mount Pleasant, stores had plenty of water before the storm, but the beer isle was empty…



3. Storm Hypnosis


The Weather Channel is in the business of placing themselves in harm’s way. The hurricane was definitely must-see TV.  Although, when the adrenaline starts to get to the point where you think about becoming a storm chaser, be sure to follow LOCAL NEWS.




There is actually a European model to forecast hurricane paths, but I can’t remember many hurricanes hitting Europe.  For some reason, Americans trust the European prediction more than the American (GFS) predictions – note the Euro model was completely wrong this time.



4. Evacu-cation

Looking at Spaghetti models is like trying to predict which route Waze might suggest you take out of town.  Just remember the drivers around you are just as frustrated as you are. Also – drinking that beer you purchased while you “drivevacuate” is still against the law (and dangerous).

If time permits and you are physically able, wait a day or so.  There is very little traffic after the initial rush.

Also - there is not enough gas in the underground tanks for everyone.  As soon as a tropical storm shows up on the map – fill up and keep the tank full.

Many people took unusual evacuation routes and ended up having a pretty good time in Disney or other great spots while we looked up recipes that might use up the impulse loaves of bread that we purchased.   


5. Southern Charmed


When you are lucky enough to be on the South side of a hurricane, the wind pulls the water out and around the rotation into the Northeast quadrant (pounding our neighbors in North Carolina).  This creates an eerily low tide and calm flat water even when the wind is blowing 35 – 40 mph.


Also, hurricanes create great clouds that make very beautiful sunsets.



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