Hoping Florence dumps a lot of rain — but not much else


Reggie ponder lifestyles chowan herald


By Reggie Ponder

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I hope you stay safe as Hurricane Florence comes along and does whatever it does.

Some of you might not read this until later because you have already headed toward higher ground to the west.

Nearly everyone I have talked to, through, is planning to stay. That might change even after I finish writing this because we’re all watching the storm track as if it were our own heart monitor. And in a way it is.

Earlier in the week I considered getting my family to Raleigh before coming back here to finish my work, but then it wasn’t clear Raleigh would be much better than Elizabeth City so we opted for staying in town.

If I were on the Outer Banks I would leave. I think it’s just too dangerous out there to try to ride it out.

But it gets trickier as you move just a bit inland. We don’t get the 20-foot waves here. Surely we’ll get enormous rainfall but that’s also being forecast for Raleigh and even somewhat west of there.

So out normal impulse to head to Raleigh didn’t seem to make as much sense this time.

I also remember how much havoc Hurricane Fran in the 1990s wrought in Raleigh and Durham. At the time we were living between Raleigh and Durham, not far from RDU airport, and the eye of Fran went right over us.

We were without power for a couple of weeks and nearly every tree in our neighborhood was uprooted.

And I remember Hurricane Floyd, which caused at least one death and brought some of the worst flooding that eastern North Carolina has ever seen. Floyd was much worse around Tarboro and Rocky Mount than it was in the Albemarle.

Storms of this magnitude can bring out the best and worst in people. We hear the awful stories about looting and price gouging, but there are more examples of generosity and helpfulness if we take a close look.

When a friend of ours who used to own and operate an independent grocery store in Johnston County lost power to the store in the aftermath of Floyd, he brought his pig cooker to the parking lot outside the store and cooked all the meat before it went bad. He gave it all away, cooked by a master grill cook, free to all as long as it lasted.

That gesture gave him a sense of purpose and kept him from feeling powerless in the face of the powerful storm.

It also earned him lasting goodwill in the community.

I pray we’re all right back here next week, same time and place, safe and sound.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.