Anybody want to talk about the weather?

hurricane-matthew-path-674077

Normally, I don’t. I tend to take what comes, and react accordingly. But with the governor talking about evacuating the entire coast starting Wednesday, for a storm that might (OK, probably will) hit us this weekend, I thought y’all might want to talk about it.

So talk… For starters, anybody out there making plans, or changing plans?…

57 thoughts on “Anybody want to talk about the weather?

  1. Bryan Caskey

    School districts are closed starting tomorrow for Richland 1 and probably others. Folks are even talking about rescheduling a Gamecock football game, so you know it’s serious.

    Reply
  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, I don’t want to be the guy who says we’re overreacting, and then it rains for 40 days and 40 nights.

    But… do any of y’all think we’re overreacting here — cancelling school across the state starting Wednesday for a storm that might hit our coast Friday?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I think I know why I’m not fully cognizant of the seriousness of the situation: The governor hasn’t put on her blue jacket yet.

      Once she does that, get out of my way — it’s time to skedaddle…

      Reply
    2. Mark Stewart

      That was my thought. Wednesday early closings in the Midlands? That’s just absurd.

      And get 100 miles away from the coast? That’s to Sandy Run. It’s all a bit alarmist – does no-one remember the epic traffic that resulted last time they called for such an evacuation? Most people sat stranded for 24 hours in their cars as the storm blew overhead, hardly a sensible outcome.

      Anyway, I’m coming into town Friday afternoon. So we’ll see. Could be an epic tailgate for the Georgia game if the hurricane skims along the coast.

      Reply
      1. Scout

        I don’t think they started three days ahead last time. I think they are trying to avoid that again but also keep people safe. We shall see.

        Reply
  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    How scary can a storm named “Matthew” be? “Hugo” was a name to reckon with. “Hazel” sounded like a gigantic witch bearing down on our coast.

    But “Matthew” sounds pretty civilized to me…

    Reply
  4. Norm Ivey

    RSD2 is closed the next 3 days. Schools in the Midlands become shelters for evacuees. Our school buses are being used to evacuate people from the coast. Closing government offices keeps thousands of commuters off the streets while evacuations are ongoing. It’s not an overreaction. It’s a prudent act. We might find after the fact that it was unnecessary, but you just don’t take chance with people’s lives.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      When our kids were still in Richland 2 schools, I would be amused by the robocalls that would come announcing preemptive school cancellations. They would start with something like “With an abundance of caution…” which I translated into “Due to a fear of a few overanxious parents complaining…”

      Reply
      1. Norm Ivey

        We had a couple of episodes back in the 90s that led us here. In one episode the buses started out and then school was called off. We had kids at schools and no one at home to return them to. Other kids waited for buses that never arrived.

        Another episode was triggered by students (allegedly). Someone called a radio or TV station and reported that schools were closed. The news was reported and chaos ensued.

        Ever after, the call has been made early–usually by 5pm the evening before. And because it’s so hard to KNOW what conditions will be, they generally err on the side of safety.

        This one’s different. The governor closed the schools.

        Reply
  5. Kathryn Fenner

    I am spooked. We are in Germany. I am hoping the pots I left on my deck don’t take out the plate glass windows, but I guess that’s why we have insurance.

    Y’all ought to have several days water on hand anyway, right?

    Reply
  6. Mark Stewart

    We are going to have to call 2016 the year of irrational fear and anxiety.

    It looks this morning like this hurricane is going to be a complete miss – a serious coastal storm but that’s about it. What is Gov. Hailey going to do now?

    What a serious rush to judgment. One day some people will seriously need to move ahead of an imminent direct hurricane strike. But not this year it appears. And it will never be a million people who must be evacuated. That idea is the fundamental flaw in the government’s approach to disaster preparedness.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Seriously. It’s wind and rain, not the apocalypse. How many actual lives would be in danger from a category 3/4 storm? Enough to warrant shutting down 1/3 of the state for 3 days?

      Stuff happens. Be prepared. Deal with it.

      I have a theory that the damage to America’s psyche done by 9/11 was far greater than the actual horrific loss of life that occurred. The whole helicopter parent, safe space, what about MY feelings self-centered behavior we see today seems to be the actual fallout from that event. Many people live in a state of irrational fear.

      Reply
      1. Lynn Teague

        This is one of those times that we can agree on something. 9/11 was not an existential threat to our republic. Terrible, yes, but not an existential threat. The reaction has done more harm than the original event.

        But, so we don’t cause a rupture in the space/time continuum because I agreed with you on that, I must disagree with you on the other part of your message. Many lives can be in danger from a cat 3/4 storm. Yes, it is worth the shutdown.

        Reply
        1. Douglas Ross

          Well, if you cry wolf too many times, the people will start ignoring you. This was a cry wolf situation not worthy of a mass exodus and shutdown of schools for three days 100 miles from the coast.

          Reply
        2. Bryan Caskey

          When did things have to rise to the level of an “existential threat” to merit dealing with them seriously? I hear it all the time in regards to ISIS as in “ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States,” with the implication that we can sort of shrug them off.

          I mean, how many existential threats to the United States have there been since 1789?

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            This is like playing doubles in tennis. Bryan, you and I need to work on our signals to determine which of us will take a particular shot. We both swung at that one, in the same way…

            Reply
        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, I could renew the perpetual argument by disagreeing with you on the “reaction has done more harm than the original event” bit, but I choose another direction…

          When has this nation EVER experienced an existential threat, other than the nuclear one during the Cold War? Perhaps from within, as in the Civil War, when the issue of whether the nation would continue to exist AS a nation was in doubt. But when did an external threat endanger the nation’s existence?

          Surely not the Revolution. We could have continued to be a group of colonies, and perhaps eventually come up with a solution like Canada’s or Australia’s.

          Yes, the Brits burned the White House in 1814, but was the NATION’S existence threatened? No, because the war was pretty low-intensity, just a distraction from the British perspective, a drain on resources needed for the real fight against ol’ Boney.

          Mexican War? No. Spanish-American? No. WWI? Certainly not.

          WWII? Not to us. We would have lived in a pretty horrible world had we not fought and won it, but the United States could have continued.

          Korea and Vietnam are significant mainly within the context of the Cold War.

          So it seems irrelevant to discuss whether 9/11 marked an “existential” threat. The question is, was it something we had to react to, and deal with? Yes, it was. And it will continue to be.

          By the way, how many of those other conflicts killed 3,000 Americans, mostly civilians, on U.S. territory in a day? For them, it was definitely existential. Although, as I say, that’s the wrong question…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, in terms of who we are, as the great standard-bearer for liberal democracy in the world, Trump’s candidacy may be a greater existential threat than any of those other situations, with the exception of the Civil War.

            We are on the brink of destroying what the United States is, and must be…

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “Large-scale” is relative. I need to go back and look at the size of the forces involved back in March 2003 before I’m ready to call it “large-scale.” And it only lasted about 3 weeks, if I remember correctly. After that, we’re talking low-intensity guerrilla stuff…

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                OK, I’ll call it “large-scale,” for those three or four groups. It involved 192,000 U.S. troops. That includes all services, I believe, but it they were all Army, they would constitute more than a WWII-sized army, although considerable less than an “army group.”

                Then there are all those other Coalition forces, bringing it to 380,000, which would ALMOST constitute a smaller army group.

                So yeah, large-scale. Not Battle of the Bulge large-scale, but large enough by modern standards…

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Since I bothered to look it up, I’ll share stats on the battle in the Ardennes in 1944-45: America had 610,000 men in the fight, the Germans 450,000. Don’t know about the Brits and other nationalities.

                  Mind you, that was a battle, not a “war.” It was the biggest the United States ever fought…

    2. Norm Ivey

      There may be little damage from this storm, but it still has the potential to cause problems, especially in low-lying areas like Charleston, where one report is predicting 8-10 inches of rain.

      The breadth of evacuation is determined by storm surge zones. It seems prudent to evacuate areas at risk. It can increase in intensity as long as it remains over warm water. Lots of uncertainty, and better safe than sorry.

      Reply
  7. bud

    I accually agree with Doug on this one. One more day would have brought thing into better focus. 24 hours should be ample time to evacuate.

    Reply
      1. Bill

        I was on the coast (Edisto Island) the day before Floyd hit and got out just fine. Didn’t even run into any backups until I reached Columbia — where traffic was snarled at the usual places.

        Reply
      2. Dave Crockett

        My wife and I left out of Mt. Pleasant with her mother the day before Floyd was expected around 1 p.m. Six hours later we were still on the Mark Clark (I-526). A mere 18 HOURS after we left mom’s trailer, we pulled into Seneca. Yeah, 24 hours would be cutting it pretty close if a real hit were imminent.

        Reply
  8. Mark Stewart

    The NWS Hurricane Center is projecting a < 40% chance that 58 mph sustained winds will even graze the SC coast this weekend. For Hurricane force winds (74 mph) it is < 20% chance; north of Summerville it is a 0% chance.

    Storm surges are 1-3 feet @ a 1 in 10 chance of occurrence. In other words, 90%+ chance there will be no storm surge. Heck, there is a 60% chance there will not be damaging winds anywhere along the SC coast.

    Sounds more like a Hurricane Party kind of weekend. I wonder what data the Governor is looking at?

    Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          But what if it just goes straight, instead of being deflected by our coast? That’s what Hugo did. What are the factors preventing this one from doing that?

          Reply
          1. Mark Stewart

            Areas of high pressure act like pinball bumpers for tropical storms. So as the high pressure area drifts northeastward the hurricane gets shunted eastward – and in this projected case back southeastward.

            Hurricane Hugo did that too – but off of Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine. This storm looks like it’s going to die an earlier death off Bermuda.

            Reply
            1. Bryan Caskey

              Glad this one is sliding eastward. If all that occurs is that South Carolina was over-prepared, then I’m okay with that. Hurricanes shouldn’t result in massive loss of life like tornadoes or earthquakes because we can see them coming and prepare. I know that there is criticism of Haley for being overly cautious, but I’m fine with being overly cautious on this sort of thing.

              Better safe than sorry, right?

              Reply
              1. Mark Stewart

                Yes, but each time they cry chicken little like this – now three times in a row – the state loses its credibility. One day a whopper will again strike SC hard; the question is will people believe the forecast or reject the hype (from the government and the media)?

                I thought Haley had the opportunity at noon today to get out in front of this and at least call it an “advisory” evacuation of the barrier islands and low-lying areas (yes, even the low country has less low areas). Or something that let people know the government’s decision analysis reflected the evolving situation. CYA is a dangerous thing itself – for the next time. What if more people die the next time because they blew off the sky-is-falling record of previous warnings?

                Reply
  9. Bart

    Personally, I think Gov. Haley did the right thing under the prevailing circumstances at the time. Considering my age and that I went through Hurricane Hazel, the small but very powerful hurricane that tracked almost due East and then did a 180 and hit Myrtle Beach dead on and did an unbelievable amount of damage. Hurricane Hugo did not change course and come directly in on the coast of SC and tracked an almost straight line to Charlotte, ignoring warnings is not a good idea.

    And what the hell is describing people who are heeding the warnings as being filled with irrational fear? Is it some kind of “I am much more intelligent and reasonable” than you are? Is your chest pumped up with the absolute certainty that you know more than the people who have lived through a destructive hurricane or two, well before 9/11? Get off your damn pedestal and come down to earth and understand that real people have real fears and concerns about a potentially destructive hurricane. This is not a warning that a terrorist attack like 9/11 may be imminent but one that is active and can be seen on television. The Weather Channel is predicting Matthew will pick up wind speed and increase to at least a Category 3. There are still differing predictive models for the hurricane’s track and until the hurricane takes one, we still won’t know for sure.

    When Gov. Hodges made the decision to reverse lanes and evacuate the coastal area, he was excoriated because of the way it was handled. While it “could” have been handled better, it was the first time it was tried in SC. I still agree with what Gov. Hodges did because he actually tried to be proactive instead of reactive. As the governor, same as Haley, he was the responsible official when it comes to executive decisions and neither one should take the chance that an impending hurricane “may” change course or diminish in strength. If either one had not made the decision they did and if either hurricane changed course or increased in intensity and lives were lost, the outcry would be deafening – from the same ones now questioning their decisions.

    The governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans refused help from Bush and the citizens of New Orleans and surrounding communities and parishes paid dearly for it. But, ultimately Bush bore the brunt of criticism because of the way the aftermath was handled. The failure of the governor and mayor to do their jobs was ignored.

    Maybe it would be more beneficial if the early critics would at least be thankful that the hurricane will probably not be as destructive as predicted and express their gratitude that the governor and other responsible officials did their jobs to try to protect the citizens of South Carolina.

    But, if you can do a better job, run for governor, win the election and prove it.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, I think Nikki’s doing fine. Cancelling schools starting today was a bit much, but on the whole I think she’s taking the prudent course.

      I went shopping for provisions on my way home last night. Bought a case of bottled water, plus 5 gallon jugs of it — which, if we experience water problems like last year, I can refill with boiled.

      I also bought the last two steaks in the store, which we ate last night. T-bones. They were excellent…

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Of course not. Buy rum, mix it with water, and add lime juice as an antiscorbutic.

          It should keep in your hold for quite sometime. But post a marine guard on the place where you store it.

          And if you don’t have water, do what I do: Use ginger ale…

          Reply
      1. Kathryn Fenner

        They are cancelling school to empty the buildings out and prepare them for use as shelters. This is a lesson learned from last year when they were woefully unprepared to be used as shelters.

        Reply
        1. Mark Stewart

          I’m not a big fan of the idea of faith-based solutions being pushed ahead of governmental responses to civic crisis issues, but in this case Hailey’s old ideas of turning to the faith communities would have been spot on.

          Instead of closing schools to ready them as evacuee shelters, why not have worked with area churches – especially the mega ones – to create these shelters? Schools have children who deserve to be educated. Churches (often) have facilities to accommodate evacuees, including a committed community, space which meets public assembly needs (even gyms and locker/shower rooms), catering kitchens, PA systems, and large parking lots. This seems like such a better societal response to emergency needs within our community than yanking kids out of school on the off chance space for evacuees is needed.

          If the churches were full of evacuees on Sunday, I think God would understand.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Good thoughts, Mark. I also think about the impact on working parents who have had to find alternate care for their kids during the school day or else take time off. And then there will be all the legislative bureaucracy to “legally” allow some districts to attend fewer than 180 days or establish other alternatives to get the required days in.

            Reply
          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            Mark, that sounds like a great idea, but it would be harder to implement. Haley can ORDER schools closed. Churches would have to be ASKED to step forward, one by one. Sort of cumbersome…

            Reply
            1. Mark Stewart

              And we know she likes to order people about.

              Cataloguing and liaising with volunteer churches would have been a great project for the Emergency Management Division to have been working on in the off season. Apparently they already did it for the schools. They could have a triage waterfall plan in place with some big churches around the state.

              Here is the thing; Haley can’t order people to evacuate. She can grandstand as she has done, but that’s about it. So when they evacuate it is by choice – and they will go where they want. Having people step up by choice (with state support offered) nicely dovetails with the evacuees needs. Plus, though certainly a bit more chaotic, it is a more efficient approach. Not needed at a location? Volunteers go home. With Haley’s plan, the waste of time and effort following “orders” is tremendous. All the government entities have to stay on watch everywhere until Haley says stand down. There is no proportionality to the response…

              Reply
          3. Norm Ivey

            Speaking with the bias of one who has an unexpected 3 days off and using today’s calm before the storm to do a pork butt on the grill….

            Schools tend to be more centrally located and easier to find than a particular church. As Brad observed, it’s easier to secure a school for use. My school already has evacuees. The district has wifi which allows those people to be able to contact others who may be concerned about them. Churches are unlikely to have that. There are food preparation facilities designed to serve large numbers of people quickly (if necessary). There are shower and restroom facilities designed for large scale populations. They have support staff to maintain the facilities. I honestly cannot think of better accommodations for large numbers of displaced persons.

            Closing schools is disruptive, no argument. But the lives of those evacuating are far more disrupted than those who need to arrange child care. And at this point, we already have 3 make-up days built into our schedule, so no days will be missed or forgiven unless we miss additional days. Last year, I think the students attended 179 days instead of 180. It works itself out

            The most important thing is to provide shelter and care for those who’ve had to leave their homes.

            Reply
    2. Mark Stewart

      Was that aimed at me, Bart?

      I don’t watch the Weather Channel. It is a caldron of anxiety. That’s the way they like it; one weather monster after another. Beat the drum…

      Look, hurricanes are deadly serious business. However, the question I have is a blanket evacuation of over 1 million people a rational response to a predictably unpredictable event? The answer to that is no. People always have the option to leave if they choose; and sometimes staying come hell or high water is stupid is as stupid does. However, this is a very broad continuum and it is, in my mind, far more helpful to present more nuanced information. With less hype. Move away from the barrier islands and other low-lying areas. If a high storm surge is expected – or even a possibility – get the hell out of the way. Same for 90+ mile an hour winds. Otherwise, it’s just heavy weather. Be prepared. Consider the risks and prepare for eventualities.

      There is no chest-pounding hubris in that. As I said, my concern is not people’s inconvenience this time – it is that this sky-is-falling irrationality puts people at greater risk for the next one. And I don’t believe that that risk is entering into Hailey’s analysis here – she is only worried about now, another storm will be another Governor’s problem. And that is a dangerous omission.

      Reply
      1. Douglas Ross

        Agree 100%, Mark. I can’t fathom people who watch the weather channel. With all the technology thrown at weather forecasting, they still have a lousy accuracy rate. I’m sorry, Bart, but I can’t see how many lives would be saved by moving a million people to “safe” areas. Cancelling school for three days in Columbia was going way too far.

        When Hurricane Fran hit North Carolina years ago, I was working on a project in Raleigh. I woke up in my motel in the middle of the night, heard the wind howling outside, opened my parking lot facing door, and saw the trees outside bent in half in the wind. I remember saying “Wow!” and then went back to bed. Then I dealt with finding a way home the next day. For me, wasting time worrying about things that might happen is unproductive. You don’t have to be reckless but you certainly don’t have to go on a three day anxiety attack over wind and rain.

        Reply
  10. Bart

    First things first. I am not on a three day anxiety attack over wind and rain. But on the other hand, it would be difficult to count the number of residents of South Carolina who do have anxiety attacks when hurricanes are predicted to hit the state, especially for the people who live on or near the coast. Living in the Columbia area is definitely not the coastal region so why worry? A little rain and a few stiff breezes will be about it.

    My point was that the governor did what she and her advisors determined was the best course of action to take. The latest prediction tonight is Hurricane Matthew will increase in strength and become a Cat 3, possibly a Cat 4 after clearing the islands. NWS won’t make a definitive prediction about the path even though several models have it possibly making landfall in Florida and staying on the coast up through GA, SC, NC, VA and up. As Mark and Doug have stated, it is not an exact science and when dealing with something that is inexact at best, when one is the final authority over the safety of the residents of the state, then the governor makes a decision based on what she or he believes to be in the best interest of the residents safety and welfare.

    As for Hurricane Fran hitting in 1996, I remember it well and recall several people died and it caused billions of dollars in damages in North Carolina alone. Wonder if the one who died of a heart attack because of the hurricane was suffering from an anxiety attack? As for Doug opening the door to his motel room and saying “Wow”, great, glad he doesn’t have anxiety attacks like many others experience.

    To share my experience when Hugo hit, at the peak of the hurricane, I went outside on the deck and stood for about 15 minutes listening to the tornados spawned by Hugo go through my neighborhood and rip up trees. No anxiety or fear, just wondering if one was going to hit our home. We were fortunate, only some granule damage to the shingles.

    Hurricanes don’t scare me but I do understand what fear and anxiety can do to anyone who suffers from both. Went to Sam’s yesterday to pick up a prescription for my wife and the store was filled with people buying water and other essentials to prepare for the hurricane. The fear on many faces was real. While Doug and Mark don’t have the same fears or anxiety, I still believe it is a demonstration of hubris and a form of chest bumping to deride anyone who doesn’t share the same opinions about the actions of the governor doing her duty. My son is not a shrinking violet and doesn’t fear anything or suffer from anxieties but he lives in Charleston and agrees Haley’s decision was the right one. He drove to stay with us until it is over and he can return.

    Hopefully the hurricane will move off the coast and flooding along with wind damage will be at a minimum. Only time will tell and second guessing will continue.

    Reply
  11. Douglas Ross

    Does anyone know what the average home insurance costs would be for houses in the Charleston area compared to Columbia? Is it double?

    Reply
    1. Bart

      According to the insurance coverage for South Carolina, they are in 3 categories. Inland, seacoast, and beaches. Inland is less than seacoast and seacoast is less than beaches. Makes perfect sense. Several friends have beach front property and their insurance premiums are almost as much as the mortgage payment. Depending on the location of the home is also a factor. DeBordieu premiums are generally a little lower because the homes are considered to be better constructed with more protection against natural disasters. Conversely, the quick-built condos and homes built during the boom were thrown together and not considered to be as well constructed. A good friend owns a place at Blue Heron and his insurance rates are through the ceiling.

      The rates on the East side of Hwy. 17 are much higher than the ones on the West. This has been an issue for a long time and the residents on the West side of the Inland Waterway have complained about being included in the same category as the ones on the beach side and paying high premiums.

      Whether they are double or not, I cannot answer but they are much higher, that I do know. Never been interested in buying property at the beach, prefer the mountains.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *