“What’s the difference between a lot of rain and a hurricane?” This is what I said last Tuesday as I was packing my bags to go out of town. I am from Wilmington, North Carolina, and this semester I have three classes online, which means I only come to campus two times a week. Very often I travel to Wilmington on my free days to see my friends and family. Last Tuesday, I was packing my bags, heading to Wilmington due to the fact that I had a couple of days off from work and school. I was aware of the potential hurricane that was bounding towards Wilmington, but honestly I figured it wouldn’t be bad. I thought that it would rain a lot for a couple of days, which isn’t necessarily out of the norm because it rains all the time in Wilmington. Many of my friends tried to show me the news and how Hurricane Florence quickly moved to a Category 4 hurricane. They tried to show me how fast the winds were supposed to be traveling. They even tried to tell me that I would be stuck in Wilmington for longer than I anticipated because the roads would most likely be flooded.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

After hearing all of this, I still decided to ignore all of them, because the one hurricane that I have ever experienced did little to no damage and consisted of only rain. As I drove to Wilmington, the entire opposite side of the road that I was on was stopped due to a high amount of traffic because everyone was trying to get out of Wilmington. So many people were evacuating, making the roads almost impossible to drive on. When I got to Wilmington, most of the stores and buildings were already closed for the rest of the week in preparation for the hurricane. By Thursday afternoon, the rain had started and the winds were picking up. By early Friday morning, most of the city had already lost power and electricity. At my house, we had to move everything out of the freezer and refrigerator and put them in coolers. By Friday evening, the water outside was starting to build up and flood. On Saturday, you could barely access the roads because of all of the trees that fell into the streets, as well as the sinkholes that were forming. The heat was almost unbearable inside of my house and it was uncomfortable showering without hot water. We continued to run out of food and ice, which was extremely inconvenient. Many people lost their homes due to water damage and other physical damage as well.

The water continued rising outside and started to flow into my backyard, which was nothing compared to other people’s homes. By Sunday, many people around the city had to be rescued from their homes due to the water that was getting into their houses and flooding it out. In my neighborhood alone, many trees fell on houses and one house even caught on fire. By Monday, some of the grocery stores started to open, and it looked like we had experienced the worst of the storm, so it could only get better. Being without power for six days was a very uncomfortable experience. Not knowing when I could return to Charlotte was also uncomfortable for me. The moral of the story is to please take natural disasters seriously. Please make sure you take the necessary precautions you need to in order to stay safe and make sure you are prepared for the worst at all times. Better safe than sorry!