Friday, October 14, 2016

A day in the life of a mole: 10 '16

 This mole makes his home is on the edge of our golf course 16th sand trap. The tracks he left in his escape route tells it all.  Clearly the mole was not prepared for the storm surge.

On the lighter side, Marsh eggs: 10 '16

On the lighter side, Bruce a received an unexpected gift from Hurricane Matthew.  The tidal surge seemed to have collected lots of the golf balls,  which errant drives had landed in the marsh, and  re-deposited them together in neat nests of cord grass at the base of our sea wall.   Bruce plucked up an entire large  shopping bag full  of some of the best quality balls  on the market. Thank you, Hurricane Matthew.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Outside of our plantation: 10 '16

Outside of our plantation, conditions were much the same across most of the Grand Strand With the exception of the barrier islands and ocean-facing properties, there was very little structural damage, but there were a lot of downed trees that played havoc with the roads. When the trees toppled  atop  the power lines all along Highway 17,  it not only stopped power to the nearby homes and stores, it eliminated every traffic light  along the entire length of that primary coastal thorough fare.   Driving was so hazardous that many schools remained closed even after the storm had passed because it was not safe for parents or school buses to try to transport the kids on the highways.

Fortunately, along the Grand Strand there was not much water on the roadways. The only flooding I found on Hywy 17 was near the entrance to  Huntington Beach State Park.

  We had to slow down to go through it, but the water was not deep enough to stall out in. 

The ocean facing properties took a really heavy hit from Mathew. Even before the front half of the storm had passed, local news stations were reporting that the waves had breached the dunes in front of the big hotels in Myrtle Beach.

 The ocean front beach is now missing from Pawleys Island.
But  on the bright side, 
we have a new beach on the marsh side of Spring Road.

Both Litchfield and Pawleys Island suffered heavy beach erosion.  They had just replenished the sand on those beaches after last October's storm surge; now it is all gone again. 
Fortunately,  beyond a house which caught fire and a wind-damaged roof, there does not appear to be much other structural damage.

Above is a link to an aerial view of the damage to Pawleys Island’s South end (courtesy of Georgetown County).  All that sand you see the National Guard crews moving used to be dunes in front of the houses; Now Spring Road, behind the houses, is a creek side beach.

Georgetown,  is another story. This small river town is located 10 miles South of us on the Wynah Bay. Portions of the town were hit hard by the rain, with 5' of water in some areas, including Front Street. Quite a few homes, apartments, businesses, and automobiles took a hit. For awhile, Hwy 17 was closed on both sides of Georgetown, although it is open now. Georgetown schools have been closed this week, and will continue closed on Weds. I have not heard anything specifically about Maryville, so I can't comment. The Georgetown Times has been covering the situation down there well

Monday, October 10, 2016

Matthew vs. Pawleys Plantation Golf Course: 10 '16


If anything in the golf course could be said to have taken a hit from Matthew, it is the golf course.   Like all the rest of our plantation there were a lot of fallen trees and debris all over the course. Their sandy soil is often very loose from all the water used to keep the fairways grass green.  That made it easy for trees to be toppled in the wind. 

Fallen tree on 18th Fairway near Club House

But the fairways closest to the marsh were dealt the heaviest blow as they are most exposed to the wind.

Trees toppled on 18th Black tee off (above)
And Red tee off (below)

The wind also removed most of the sand from the back nine sand traps (and in some locations replaced the sand with trash)

The sand trap on 13 is down to bare earth and at marsh level.

The marsh bordering fairways also are located in the lowest elevations on the plantation. Five of the back none fairways showed evidence of being partially covered in salt water during the peak of the storm surge.  Needless to say, salt water and golf grass do not mix well,  so most the marsh bordering fairways will need new soil and sod.

Marsh Cord grass left behind on the 12th, 


Marsh cord grass  on  the 17th 
  18th fairways.

Dock and cordgrass on 12th fairway

There was enough of a high water surge to float some storm loosened crab docks onto the 12th and 16th fairways

 Crab Dock on edge of 16th fairway and its sandtrap

The golf course maintenance people already have most of the debris cleaned up, but it is going to take awhile to get the course area re-sodded.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The day after Matthew:10 '16

The day after Matthew rolled through Pawleys Island the skies were clear, the temperatures hovered around 75 degrees F., and the wind was down to a gentle breeze. We were able to go out of so we started checking out the rest of our community as it became safe to so.

Tree down at 15-1 Twelve Oaks Drive

There was tree litter and broken branches everywhere along our block, but the road was still safe to drive and walk on.  A large tree had uprooted and fallen at the end of our cul-de-sac,
A couple of others had fallen in some residents back yards. e.g.15-1 above.

There was standing water where the storm drain had backed up during high tide, but there was no apparent damage to anyone’s home on our street.

Deeper in the plantation there was a lot more clean up to done.  Fortune smiled on our community. We did not see any damage to homes or cars or other structures. There was however a massive amount of broken / dangling limbs, and fallen branches, and  uprooted trees.

Dangling tree branch on PP way

Fallen branches  on Tanglewood Dr.

Entrance to Weehaka Woods blocked by fallen pine

Most of the roads were completely impassable due to downed trees and debris.

There were 4 downed trees at front entrance blocking anyone from entering or leaving or leaving the plantation.

The good news is that the retaining ponds did not overflow, so the road hazards within the plantation did not include standing water.

Ponds near Savannah Dr.  X Old Augusta Dr.  X PP Way 

The Ponds were full but not overflowing.

Downed Tree on Tanglewood by 10th Tee off

Clean up crews had started at first light cutting downed trees and cutting broken dangling branches, and  pushing debris into big piles along the sides of the road.  The pile shown below was from clearing a single lane through just one side of Tanglewood Dr. The other half of the road had not yet been clear That pile stretched the entire length of the road and measured 5 feet high by eight feet deep.

Debris piled along one section of Tanglewood Drive

There was so much to be done that by 10 am they had only managed to clear a single lane from the Front gate to the Clubhouse.  

But the clean up crews really work fast. By late afternoon, Pawleys Plantation way could handle two way traffic and all other roads were accessible by at least a single lane.

We survived Hurricane Matthew: 10 '16

 Bruce channeling Jim Cantore

Well if you are reading this you must have figured out that we survived Hurricane Matthew.
Several people have asked us why we did not evacuate. The answer is that by time the state told us it was time for people in our area to leave,  the storm had diminished to the point that we did not feet posed  any serious threat to our person or our property.  We had already boarded up the house against flying debris, and garaged the cars above the predicted surge levels.  We had plenty of emergency equipment if we were stranded without power.  We also had lots of food, water, ice, propane and everything else we might need to hold out for a week
The biggest concern in our area was storm surge which was expected to raise a max of 6 to 9 feet in our area.  Georgetown County Emergency Management kept repeating that flooding levels would be similar to last October’s rainstorm flood levels.  Not that I doubted that there would be flooding problems  for people and properties along the rivers and the barrier islands, but we are sitting at 15 ‘ above sea level and did not see any flooding  on our street last October, so  we had no reason to worry about it  this time around.

As with all hurricanes, wind is the other big threat.  By the time it was our zone's turn to leave, max winds at the center of the eye were only 75 mph and gusts on the outer bands were significantly lower.  It would not be safe to be out walking or driving around in that kind of wind, but it was not going to blow the house down.

 BJ comforting Stinky

We brought both cats indoors throughout the duration of the storm.  Initially Stinky hid in a corner of the garage, but eventually he wanted to join us in the house.  Once in, he settled at our feet and purred louder than Ms Kat.  Once the storm was over we offered a couple of times to let him out. He stood at the door and looked out, but did not want to go outside until the wind had completely subsided.

CC texting a friend - the old fashion way

We did expect that we might lose power and connectivity with the outside world so we made sure we had stuff to keep us occupied. CC bought some extra writing paper so that she could write letters to friends, and holiday cards to the grand kids.

Bruce made sure we had extra batteries for our emergency radio so we could hear any weather alerts and listen to our favorite PBS radio stations after dark (e.g. 'Prairie Home Companion', 'Car Talk', etc.   We even listened to the 2nd Presidential Debate on the radio (Personally, I now think that was our biggest mistake of the week.  Not only did we NOT learn anything new about either candidate’s plans, it left us both feeling very depressed that no one was talking about policy).  Beyond an hour or so of evening radio, there was no media bombardment at all.  No CNN or Fox news vilifying one candidate or the other, no distressing images of some distant global disaster, or violent TV programs showing chaos and mayhem.  The truth be told, we found that there is something emotionally elevating about being off the grid. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Back side of Hurricane Matthew: 10 '16

The back half of the storm was much stronger than the front half and lasted a lot longer (about 6 hours). It rained a lot harder in this half than earlier, and the winds were a lot stronger.  While the rain only lasted an hour or so, the winds went on late into the night.
Most of the heaviest bands of rain fell far inland, raising threats of flooding and broken dams all over the North and South Carolina midlands. Many of the communities adjacent to our South Carolina Rivers are still under flood watch today as those inland waters work their way down river to the sea.  In all fairness to our low country neighbors ,  everyone living South of us on the coast from Charleston through Florida had it much worse than we did (I will blog more about that in a later post).

We lost cable connection and cell phone connection about 2 pm, and all power at about 5 pm on Saturday.   We found out later that a large tree at the front entrance to the plantation had fallen on the community’s main transformer, and taken out all the power to the plantation.

We were not alone, more than 833,000 were without power in SC due to Matthew so we knew it was going to take awhile to get our power restored.
I had prepared several days meals in advance so we grilled some turkey -zucchini burgers and warmed some baked beans for lunch; for dinner we had some cold fried chicken and potato salad and fruit salad. 

We spent the evening playing with the cats, and listening to PBS on the NOAA  emergency radio.

A large ATT cell tower was also toppled in the winds..  
None of our utilities were restored until late Tuesday afternoon.  It was an inconvenience we were well prepared for, but we were still happy to have the power restored before the food in our freezer defrosted.

Front half of Hurricane Matthew: 10 '16

The front half of Hurricane Matthew arrived at our doorstep around noon on Saturday, and hung around about two hours before the eye passed over us.     The wind and the rain came at us from the South East blowing inland. Neither the wind nor the wind nor the rain was very strong during this half of the storm.  We actually walked out of doors several times onto the front porch to take some short video clips. Granted, we had the entire house sheltering us just in case the wind suddenly gusted stronger, but this half of the storm was NOT VERY SCARY. We had a few power flickers but the power and cable came right back on during this part of the storm  For our friends and family in California think of the wind level on an average Santa Ana windstorm. It was not something to be walking or driving in, but we were definitely not feeling threatened.   

Here's a short video of the worst of it

Friday, October 7, 2016

First bands of Matthew are here: 10 '16

  All the models show Hurricane Matthew starting to turn out to sea as it approaches Charleston ( 75 miles south of us).  It will weaken as it does so. After looking at all the storm projections we have decided to ride Matthew out at home. About  third of our neighbors are staying as well. The first bands of the storm's heavy rain moved into our area about 3 a.m.  We will be shutting down the computer early this evening, and will remain offline until it is safe for the electronics to restart them (which will probably be sometime Sunday afternoon.) 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An air of apprehension: 10 '16

Hurricane Matthew is still on course to hit us with 100 mile per hour winds on Saturday.

Even cat seemed to feel a bit apprehensive today as she inspected  our barren Carolina room. 

We moved the last of the patio furniture  off of the  upstairs deck.

This morning, we double checked the flowerbeds to make sure we had removed anything that could be  hurtled by a heavy wind.

Everything is as secure as we can make it, but the lack of colorful foliage lends an ominous air of gloom to the setting.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness 10 '16

The models can't make up their minds whether Hurricane Matthew is going to move west, and cause  a lot of damage in the Carolinas, or  move eastward, out to sea, with less impact to our coastal communities.  Bruce and I decided we would rather  not take any chances  and really battened down the hatches this morning.  Bruce boarded up all the windows facing the woods.

 including the upstairs bedroom windows.

 Meanwhile, I moved all the patio furniture and potted herbs off of the upstairs deck, and stored it in my art studio.

We decided to transform our living room into a temporary greenhouse for all of CC's downstairs potted plants. We moved all of the patio furniture and potted plants for the screen Carolina room into our living room, These were soon joined by all the other potted plants from the front and back porches, giving the room a very tropical flair.

Needless to say,  after all that work, Bruce and Ms. Kat felt they were entitled to a well-deserved nap.

Evacuation for Matthew delayed: 10 ' 16

We didn't think it would be necessary to evacuate, but we may have to rethink that. Landfall is expected to hit about 50 miles north of us. Not good considering how big and powerful this storm is.

This morning Governor Nikki Haley changed coastal evacuations ahead of the potential landfall of Hurricane Matthew.

Instead of a blanket mandatory evacuation for the entire South Carolina coast beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Governor Haley says Charleston and Beaufort counties only are under that evacuation order.

Residents in Georgetown and Horry counties are now being asked to evacuate Thursday morning. The exact time has not yet been announced.  At least that buys us a couple more days time to prepare.