I am seeing blue skies, folks!
OK, so the storm is still going to play hell on NC and SC, with rivers, lakes, etc. still cresting. The charities - and the scammers - will be out in full force begging for money. PLEASE do your research before you give money to ANY charity.
Each county has their own animal shelters. You can also give to local food banks. The news is pushing the Red Cross real hard, I know a lot of people don't want to donate to them. Here are a few to try, from food banks to animal rescue to helping people with disabilities to diaper banks and more:
Please be aware, some of these charities do accept item donations if you would prefer that to giving money. Many of them are also accepting volunteers if you want to donate your time. Also, some of those charities are state or region specific, others are more broad.
There are many more, but like I said, please research before giving any money to any charity. The scammers are out in full force.
Sorry, folks. I survived.
Anyway, the storm, believe it or not, is not over! It was moving ridiculously slowly, and as I type this, we're still getting rain from it. The rain is expected to finally stop sometime Monday early afternoon/late morning.
As most of you know, it was a bad time for both NC and SC. Not as bad as the Weather Channel reporter and Anderson Cooper tried to make it look - which confuses the crap out of me - but it was bad. We have mass flooding through the state, roads collapsing, a lot of damage, and several dead.
My area fared a lot better than they had originally predicted. Originally, Florence was supposed to come on shore as a cat 4, move inland, and literally hover over my county for three days. They were telling us we were going to get 20+ inches of rain here. She came in a cat 1 and we got hit with the side of it, but the eye wall was far enough away that we were mostly spared. Winds did gust to 50 MPH here, but we've had worse. The rain, however, was impressive. By the time it stops raining we'll have about 8 to 9" down. We're actually getting hit with it as it turns. And we got about 5" in an 8 hour period one night.
Yes, my town had some downed trees and flooding, but by some miracle we actually never lost power, which was one of the things I assumed was going to happen. We are waiting, though, because we have a lake and a major creek that have not crested. All eyes are on that creek, though. Once it crests, it's going to flood a major highway, a large mall, and a heavy residential area.
As predicted my yard flooded. There are trees down in my yard, way in the back, and some down in the neighborhood. Once the rain stops and I can walk in my yard, I'll assess how bad the flooding was by getting into my crawl space to see if any got in under the house. Right now my yard is grass soup and part lake, so I'm not getting back there just yet.
This week and at least part of next I'll be assisting with cleanup in my area. That's always fun.
Thanks for hanging in there while we learned to swim!
For those checking in to see if I die in the hurricane and want to avoid Twitter, small update!
So, for about the past week we were thinking we were getting a cat 4 or 5 that was going to fly straight into our coast and go straight across my state. Doom and gloom was forecast for a while, as my county - which is inland - was supposed to take the brunt of in as far as rain is concerned. They expected her to reach us and just sit on us for two to three days, dropping a varying estimate of water on us. The estimate literally spread from 5-30" during the course of all of this.
Today they began busing the people at the coast out... and they are dropping them in my county.
This storm has changed so many times and so dramatically, that I am not willing to drop my guard, but it's looking better. Not just for my county, but everyone.
Florence is currently a cat 2 storm, and it looks like she might be a cat 1 by the time she slams the coast. She's now moving west and my county isn't even in the cone anymore, after being dead center in it for over a week.
Obviously, with as bizarre as this storm has been up until this point, this could change dramatically at any moment. As of right now, we're going to get hit, but not nearly as badly as they thought. We're still getting wind - although not the 100 MPH wind they originally thought - and they're still saying 5-10" of rain.
Basically, it's looking better right now for everyone in the path of this storm, but while she has calmed down she has also grown in size. This is a huge storm size wise. Landfall is now expected Friday morning, which is also drastically different.
Yeah, so we really still have no idea. I'm not letting my guard down because of how bizarre this thing has been. We might get skimmed, or it might jump again and come right over us. Who the heck knows.
And now, some well wishes from the extreme left:
Just a little info for those of you riding out Hurricane Florence with me:
If you are in an area with mandatory evacuation in place, get the hell out of dodge! No one thinks you're tough, and your stuff isn't worth dying over. Get out of there!
If you are in a flood prone area, make plans to evacuate as needed.
If you are in an unsecured or unsafe structure, now isn't the time to lie to yourself about the stability of said structure. Pack up your important things and get out.
Please do not leave animals behind. If you can't take them with you, set them loose. They can find safe ground on their own. DO NOT TIE ANIMALS IN PLACE! This includes livestock!
NC's governor DOES NOT call for evacuations! Listen to your county officials. If they tell you to get out, then get out!
Supplies are running out. Gas stations are empty. Fighting with the employees and each other isn't going to make the situation better. Stop being jerks to each other.
Drive safely, or don't drive at all.
Be safe, and I'll see you on the other side of the storm.
Because things could change at any moment and very quickly, I am going to give you folks the heads up early.
As many of you know, I live in North Carolina. It appears there is a strong possibility that we could take a whoopin' on Thursday from a Category 3 or 4 hurricane. I am inland and not at the coast, but with the way the models are at the current time, that isn't going to matter a whole lot. And depending on where in the "cone of uncertainty" it actually falls will dictate how bad we get it. But my area is completely inside the cone.
My state has not fully recovered from Hurricane Matthew. There are still a lot of folks here living in temporary housing. We could all use your prayers right now, but those folks could use some extra ones.
Anyway, I give this heads up because if we take the direct hit they are predicting, I am 100% sure my power is going out. For how long is anyone's guess. So, in that case, there will not be any updates. If you want to know how we're doing, you can follow me at Twitter, but that won't be a permanent outlet. Basically, until my phone battery dies.
We appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Pray it blows out to sea so we all get some rain but maybe no one takes a direct hit, that would be incredible. Not likely, but it would be amazing.