The hurricane coming towards the East Coast reminds me of the “vacation” we took several years ago to Myrtle Beach, one of the target cities mentioned in the current weather reports. It was about as close to being in a hurricane as I ever want to be.
Due to rain, the entire vacation was almost a washout, and we had only two clear afternoons to do anything other than drive in the rain and wade through puddles. When we started the vacation, we were looking forward to dry weather and sunshine like the vacations you see in the travel brochures.
As bad luck would have it, the weather forecast said a hurricane was headed for South Carolina. The good news: It would not be a direct hit. The bad news: It would travel along the eastern coast and cause a lot of rain. We decided to go anyhow. With the hurricane not even coming ashore, how bad could it be?
Really bad we found out when we came to the first roadblock where the Interstate was closed due to flooded roads and washed out bridges. We were rerouted by the highway patrol to another road, which also was blocked. From there, we were sent to another road, and another, and another, about five times. Each road was smaller and, sooner or later, barricaded.
South Carolina law enforcement did a great job of getting barricades across roads and redirecting traffic. By now we were running out of gas and there were no gas stations open. We were worn out and what should have been a 5 hour trip turned into a 10 hour nightmare.
Trying to get through Columbia, SC, was terrible. We saw abandoned cars with water up to the roof. Homes and businesses were flooded, and the rain was coming down in buckets. My sister screamed as a tree fell on top of a restaurant, a transformer exploded with a flash, and the stop lights shot sparks like the Forth of July and shorted out.
I’ve never seen so much rain – ever – and apparently neither had South Carolina, as we found out later on the news. It was a disaster movie. Somehow it is so much worse when you see it with your own eyes and know you are helpless against the forces of nature. We decided that every road to the coast was closed and we couldn’t get there. We called ahead to the resort office to see if the roads there were flooded and were told they were not. Liars.
Nothing like a vacation in a disaster area.
Eventually we accidently stumbled onto an out-of-the-way highway that was passable and were able to reach our rain-soaked destination. After a few liquid days, the rain ended. Most roads were reopened, and we were able to leave the condo. “Don’t drive around barricades.” and “Don’t try to drive through water over a road.” tourists were told. Really? People actually do that?
Trying to salvage what was left of our “vacation”, we decided to check out a botanical and sculpture garden which my sister and I remembered from our childhood. After a tour of the well-watered gardens, we took what was supposed to be a wildlife tour on a boat. We didn’t see much wildlife, only flooded rice fields. We did see a black log in the grass that the tour guide said was an alligator. It didn’t look like an alligator to me, but by the time we came back, that log had crawled about 30 feet through the grass along the bank.
Eventually, the sun came out and we had two entire days of good weather. We had almost forgotten what the sun looks like.
BTW, if you are planning a trip to the ocean anytime soon, don’t go.