Hurricane Florence

It’s days away and may not even hit the United States at all, but I am nervous. We live in Faber, Virginia in Nelson County at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. All summer it has rained and the ground is saturated. A major rain event here could be catastrophic.
It has happened before.

In 1969 the remnants of Hurricane Camille stalled here and dumped over 27 inches of rain in six hours. That summer had also been extremely wet before the big storm. Here in Nelson County over 140 people died as flash floods and mountainsides washed down into narrow valleys. The area was much more sparsely populated then. There are lots of us tucked up in these hills now.

This summer some people in our area have already been worrying about what would happen if a tropical system were to come here after all this rain. And now many computer models are showing just such a scenario.

No matter where this storm hits, if it is as strong as predicted the results will be terrible. The whole Appalachian chain is already waterlogged. After seeing the current Federal Government’s response to last year’s storms I have little confidence in its ability to cope with a major hurricane disaster on the East Coast.

So Florence please go away.

I would definitely concoct a plan for leaving if I were you. Consider the circumstances that would need to happen and then, if that line is crossed, enact your get-out-of-Dodge plan. Have your destination in mind, have supplies you might need, have storm-proofing stuff ready to go on your house (shutters and what not), etc.

You don’t have to be crazy about it. Just prepare as you can and cross your fingers.

Good luck!

We’re also saturated in NJ; much more rain and we’re going to slide away into the Delaware.

The spaghetti models are increasingly confident that the Carolinas will take the big hit, but there are strands showing possibilities up and down the East Coast.

Heavy rain from this storm has the potential to do serious harm. We currently have rain forecast here every day for the next week. Right now the ground is so saturated that every afternoon storm leads to minor flooding. The thought of what might happen if a storm suddenly dumped 10+ inches of rain in these mountains right now is frightening.

Note that leaving at the last minute can be the worst option–you get caught in gridlock–and you don’t want to be gridlocked on a highway when the hurricane strikes.

So the ground here in Central Virginia is mud from all the rain this summer and fall. When I drove over the Rockfish River this morning it was already close to flood stage. It has been flooding off and on all summer. I keep reading one forecast after another for the potential of flooding here from Florence.

Yet I am the only one who seems to be really alarmed by this. Folks at work say they have been through hurricanes before and I am being paranoid. Am I?

My fear is that double digit inches of rain in this mountainous area after all this rain already will cause massive floods, damage and loss of life. Am I being over dramatic? Talk me down.

How is your house located in relation to the possible flooding–do you live in a low area/near the river?

How far are you from the ocean? My guess is the wind speed will be down substantially by the time it hits your place.

Anyway get prepared: whether keeping your gas tank near full, suitcases packed, extra cash in your billfold, plenty of groceries, plywood on the windows, your stuff off the floor…

I am inland in the mountains. No coastal danger here. But in these foothills the ground is more than saturated. The local streams and rivers are already overflowing and it has rained again all day today.

We live in deep woods a couple of miles down a windy dirt road that crosses streams. Our house is surrounded by trees and mountains and sits perched on the side of a hill. Look at the pictures in the link I originally posted for Hurricane Camille. Our home is within walking distance of ground zero for that event. There is no stream directly by our house, but there is a small one several hundred feet down in the woods.

I am concerned about downed trees. During the derecho a few years back it was a week before all the trees were cleared off the roads. We had one small tree on our house that time, and a much larger tree crashed down very close just missing our parked car.

The rains this summer have been relentless. I have never seen it rain so much. If there is as much rain as some models forecast I worry about mudslides.

I can’t see your terrain, or if your house is on hard rock, shale, or dirt, or how it’s anchored, but, if you want my two cents, here.
If I were so worried, I’d gather up important documents, family members, pets, meds, and bug out for a week or so. I’m guessing that, even if your house suffers no damage, the power will go out the the winding road in and out will have washouts and downed trees, which would leave you isolated. If anyone needs to be in air-conditioning or to run oxygen machines, or in other ways needs power, go. If nothing happens, you can laugh at yourself later.

However, if your house is well-anchored, and you have good supplies, and are handy with a chain saw, you might want to stay home to enjoy the peace and quiet and lamp light, and get started on clearing up the downed trees. If you are worried about a tree coming down through the roof onto your beds, sleep downstairs.

The amount of rain you get will depend on how fast the storm moves.

Good luck

The storm track looks like it’s going inland 75 miles or so, and stopping. This is not going to end well.

That would be my concern as well. From experience, most of the casualties of our own disaster last year were related to communities or individuals becoming cut off from relief/resupply/evacuation *after *seemingly making it through the initial impact with manageable damages.

BTW, there is reason to worry about trees, as oversaturated ground also makes them easier to topple even in moderate storm conditions.

Yeah, I’m currently in line to get whacked on Friday/Saturday.

Florence looks like a rather powerful storm; even where people have experienced hurricanes before, not all hurricanes are the same, and it’s a pretty good idea to be ready for worse-than-usual flooding.

So I wouldn’t panic, but what are the precautions you can take in case of flooding?

Can you prepare your yard/home?

Can you ready a go bag in case you need to evacuate?

Make sure you have batteries, emergency radio, food that can be kept without refrigeration on hand, etc?

The Red Cross has a page advising people on how to prepare for flooding

Hurricanes are massive. Many people can go through the same hurricane and have vastly different experiences. Think of a hurricane like the face of a clock. The part from 11-3 is going to have a lot of rain and flooding. The center has a lot of dangerous wind. If you’re down by the 7, there will be some winds and rain, but it will likely not be devastating and you may not experience any damage.

The common danger with hurricanes is with flooding. If you’re in a flood-prone area and you’re going to be hit by the rainy quadrant of the hurricane, you should get out. If you’re going to get hit by the eye of the storm, there could be massive damage. However, the eye can wobble a lot and a few mile difference of where it hits will have vastly different effects on what gets damaged. It’s like how a tornado can tear through a neighborhood and one house has the roof taken off and the one next door is fine. If you’re inland, the strength of the eye will die off and the wind damage won’t be as devastating.

So I would suggest keeping an eye on the hurricane and see where it’s going to hit and where you are in the storm. If you are the type to really fret and worry, get away and stay somewhere else. There’s not much you can do at your house anyway. If it’s going to get damaged, there won’t be much you can do to stop it. If nothing happens, oh well, you had a little vacation where you watched the weather channel non-stop.

After experiencing Harvey flooding here in Houston, I’d bug out sooner rather than later. We didn’t get the hurricane winds, but flooding can be so devastating. My family didn’t have their homes flooded, but many of my friends did.

Stay safe - all of you.

DC suburbs here.

There’s a large “dry pond” area in our development that handles stormwater overflow. Most of the time there’s no visible water there, it’s just a green grassy area. I drove past it an hour ago and it’s a lake. We’ve had substantial rain lately as well. I hope it has a chance to drain in the next day or so. I saw a county truck checking out another stormwater management spot along the same road.

I’m hoping that we don’t lose both power and water - after Sandy, we lost power for a few hours which meant our sump pump didn’t work. We had a water backup sump pump installed after that, so unless we lose both (we lost water for a bit after Isabel in 2003 or so) the basement should be OK.

There are plenty of roads around here where standing water would be an issue, and flash floods aren’t unknown. I once had a very visible demonstration of why you don’t go through standing water: I saw some ahead on US 29 west of town, decided I’d better not go that way, and pulled into a parking lot to turn around. As I waited for my chance to get back onto the road, a bus went by after having gone through the water… and water was pouring out of its door - as in, the water was deep enough to reach the floor of the bus!

You can check if your area is prone to flooding by entering your address into the FEMA flood map application.

We decided to book a hotel in Charlottesville to wait out the storm. If it goes somewhere else or is not as bad as expected, then I am out that money but so what?

Smart move.

If you’re not in the area but you want to watch the local news during the storm, see if any of the local TV channels have a streaming app. That way you can watch their coverage on your computer, Roku, etc. The local weather coverage is much more detailed as to where the effects of the storm will hit. We were watching the local channels during the Florida hurricane and they had overlays of the city to say where they thought flooding would be and how much to expect. We could see where our relative’s house was and get an idea what was going to happen to it.

However, understand that the newscasters often hype up the worse possibility. Whatever the worst possibility might be, expect them to hype that over and over all day long “10’ of flooding! 150 MPH winds!! Oh no!”. The reality is often much less, and the max damage happens in a limited area. Of course, it sucks if you’re in the area which gets hit the hardest, but most places won’t experience the worst.