We head down to the beach every summer – and by “we” I mean my girlfriend and several friends of ours. One of those friends owns a house down in the Outer Banks in North Carolina – the town of Corolla more specifically. This year we all decided to go down at the end of the summer season. What we didn’t expect is a that a hurricane would get in the way of our plans.
You see, a few days before we were supposed to head down to the beach Hurricane Hermine tore through the north coast of Florida and up the eastern seaboard. It doused Georgia, and South Carolina with rain, flash floods, and power outages. We watched the storm diligently from the comforts of Northern Virginia where a 78 degree day was a welcome change to the oppressive heat we’d experienced the last month or so.
Some reports said that the Outer Banks was expecting over 10 inches of rain, wind gusts in the 60 MPH range, and other serious claims. PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY was a warning on a few of the weather statements. On Thursday night, it seemed quite serious.
You see, we had planned to drive down on Friday and stay until Wednesday. Granted the house was available for the entire week but you know, some of us have work to do – not me – but some of us.
I kid…of course. 🙂
Not only that but we had only procured a dog sitter for a couple of days and my loving father agreed to watch the dogs for another day or so. However, with the news of the storm and several days of less than ideal beach weather ahead we wondered how we could accommodate a change of plans and perhaps alter the days which we stayed.
Friday morning rolled around and the brunt of the storm was to pass over the Outer Banks. We made a judgement call to wait another day until Saturday afternoon to drive down. We frantically called our dog sitter, and my father, to see if we could change our plans to stay down at the house from Saturday night/Sunday until Friday morning. Thankfully everything worked out on the front – but the real fun was about to begin.
At about 330PM on Saturday – shortly after our college football teams had finished their opening games – we hopped on the road.
Of course, OF COURSE…I-95 had an accident just after Occoquan. I mean, I’ve driven this road hundreds of times for several decades and it just, ugh, it’s just the worst. I mean THE WORST. Why is there always a back up in the same spot? Why on a holiday weekend, on a SATURDAY FOR GOSH SAKES do they not have the “Hot Lanes” going south?
I don’t know, sometimes the Department of Transportation for the State of Virginia just baffles me. Like I seriously can’t think of a reason for their reasoning. It’s like trying to figure out what your dog is thinking when he tries to eat his own poop. Like, “Why are you doing that?” – you know?
Anyways, I digress…
After the bit of traffic we moved pretty steadily down the I-95 corridor. It was a smooth ride to Richmond and on down towards the Tidewater area. This is when things got a little interesting…
Now, I’ll start by saying that we really didn’t see any rain up to this point, like maybe a few sprinkles and some dark clouds but barely enough to even reach for the windshield wiper handle. Clearly though it had rained shortly before we arrived near Norfolk. I mean, it must have rain like RIGHT before we got there.
You see, we pulled onto a road that shortcuts through Norfolk onto the Toll that takes you down towards the Outer Banks. Water everywhere, wind was picking up, and as we pulled on to the street several fire trucks blazed past. We drove by a crew of electric company workers repairing a power line. Now, remember, there is probably a steady 25-30MPH wind at this time, and gusts over 40MPH. Being up in the little bucket thing fixing a power line is the absolute last place I’d want to be.
We made our way on to the Expressway (toll) and encountered very little resistance in the form of other vehicles. Normally this route is littered with people making their way down to the paradise that is the Outer Banks, but not today. This gave us an ominous feeling.
Did we make a mistake? Were we about to drive into the eye of the storm unknowingly?
We thought we’d made the smart decision by waiting to drive down until later in the afternoon, but we were beginning to question ourselves.
As day turned to night we continued down the two lane road the becomes the Wright Brothers Bridge. Standing water was a common sight and several parking lots looked more like lakes than anything else.
We approached the bridge and could see it coming from about a half a mile away. “Hold on to your butts” I said to my lady friend.
As we entered the bridge I could feel the wind fighting my Jeep Wrangler – or more accurately, pushing my Jeep around. Controlling the vehicle was more than a chore, and took precise handling. Other vehicles were passing us on the bridge, as if to say “Eh, this ain’t so bad” only to be pushed around by the wind as well. Several accidents were imminent, yet the smart driving of a select few (myself included I might add) saved us from utter disaster – and possible a nose dive into the angry waters of the Currituck Sound.
Eventually we made it across and back onto solid land. I wiped a bead of sweat from my brow and continued on. As we navigated the winding roads towards Corolla we saw the remnants of the storm. A few downed trees, some cul-de-sacs filled with water, and the worst of it all – trash and recycling cans that had fallen over!
I know, now I’m just making fun – but really the storm was quite powerful. Not deadly by any means, but certainly a force to be reckoned with and not one you’d want to venture out in. Most restaurants were closed and people at the grocery store were scarce. You could tell the storm had just made its way out of town – but another storm had just arrived.
A storm full of fun and enthusiasm ready to enjoy a holiday week and end of another great summer.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What does this have to do with WordPress websites?” – well I’m using one to tell this story aren’t I?
Until next time…