Let me give you some backstory. On Tuesday we all knew that Hurricane Matthew was a possibility for the Grand Strand and the chatter among Myrtle Beach moms started on Facebook. “I’ll bet there will be a half day on Friday.” “You think?” “Oh definitely.” Then that afternoon Governor Haley got on TV and announced no school for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Plus, those in certain zones should start getting ready to evacuate. Yikes. Anxiety kicked in.
I had been at Costco earlier that day and it was busier than usual, with folks walking out with large quantities of water, toilet paper, and liquor. My mom and I went out to lunch and she said she could feel a tension in the air. People were on alert, but I’m not sure they were ready for that press conference.
There was a pretty good delay between asking each other, “Did the Governor just cancel school through the end of the week?” and an announcement from Horry County Schools. I’m all for safety, but it was confusing. Hurricane Matthew was so far off and forecasts can change. I’m not criticizing Governor Haley whatsoever. I’m grateful she didn’t delay because people need time to make arrangements. That’s not something you can get back after the fact. Regardless, I found myself conflicted. Freak out or not?
We went to Open House at the girls’ school late that afternoon and I decided to hit a gas station and grocery store after. No can do. The lines at local gas stations were eight cars deep at each pump and grocery stores resembled bee hives. People were, indeed, opting to freak out. All of the essentials were flying off shelves and customers waited an hour in line to pay for them. I decided to wait until the morning.
That night our family was deep in discussion, singing to each other, “Should I stay or should I go, now? If I go there will be trouble. If I stay it will be double. So you gotta let me know. Should I stay or should I go?” When I talked to my mother-in-law, I literally told her we had no idea which decision we’d make. The plan was to prepare to leave, which included doing tons of laundry.
At 7:30 am I, along with my girls who would have much preferred to sleep in on their first day off from school, headed to the grocery store. Thankfully they had everything we needed, including necessities like Pop Tarts and soy vanilla coffee creamer. Whew. That was close. All kidding aside, they were running low on diapers, which prompted a serious discussion with the girls about how this is a time for people to, first, concentrate on the the things they truly need. “If they needed diapers, wouldn’t they just go get them?” Not so much, buttercup. If power is out and there’s massive flooding, how would they get there? It sunk in for them.
The town started shutting down
Walgreens, Starbucks, and Tanger Outlets all closed for the duration. More stores started following along. Evacuations started from Zone A. We wanted to go down to the beach just to see it, but it felt wrong to head in that direction when there was an active effort to get people out. The whole town was nervous about lane reversals and getting back to their homes if they evacuated or did something as simple as going to work. Thankfully that hasn’t yet gone into effect as traffic wasn’t overwhelming. I’m not sure if that’s because residents who planned to leave staggered their departures or if the majority of folks who were asked to evacuate didn’t.
The girls had a friend over because if I didn’t have something to distract them from each other, they would have gone to blows.
This morning we decided to venture out. All road were clear of traffic, but many people were out on them. We hit Target, which was in full swing, including the Starbucks. They plan to remain open with normal business hours through the weekend. Costco was open. As was Outback Steakhouse, Sonic, Bojangles, AC Moore, and Sam’s Club. There were an equal number of stores and banks with taped or boarded windows and sand bags at the doors.
That’s what I mean about confusing
The predicted impact has consistently lessened. There will still be flooding and extreme winds, but the forecast severity is less intense. Still, we’re hearing about friends who are evacuating from the Grand Strand today.
We’ve decided to ride it out, with plenty of supplies. We’ve been through similar storms and feel good about our safety. I say that with total respect for those who did leave. It’s a personal decision.
For the latest, stay turned to one of my favorite local meteorologists, Ed Piotrowski. To learn more about how to prepare for the next 36ish hours, check out these resources:
There’s no word about whether or not the kids will have to make up these three days of school, though there are several built into the schedule. While Monday, October 10th is one of those dates, Teal Britton says it will NOT be one. For your convenience, here is a link to the 2016-2017 Horry County Schools calendar. The next possible make-up day is in February 2017.
I’ll keep you updated as we weather Hurricane Matthew. God bless everyone already dealing with its destruction and those it has yet touch.
Want to read more? Check out the latest on the Myrtle Beach for Families blog.