Donna Everhart


We are fourth for states producing hurricane force winds, and in my lifetime alone, there have been 126 tropical, sub-tropical cyclones to hit North Carolina.

Before I write anything else, I want to remember the ones who lost their lives in the storm, the ones displaced, the ones waiting to go home, those who are still in need.

I can’t remember all of the hurricanes – mainly because I was very young when some came through, or their impact just didn’t leave me with any memory of them.

And then, there are ones you don’t forget.

There was Hurricane Fran in 1996 – I remember that one well.  Upstairs in my bedroom, I could feel my headboard move when a strong gust blew. That distinctive cracking of large trees falling in the middle of the night?  Burned into memory.  We went without power for days.

Then, after I was married, and we moved here to Dunn, and there was Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  We lost a huge holly tree, and our basement flooded.  We’d only been in the house a year, and had no idea it would.  Ah, so that’s what those sump pumps were for…but with no electricity?


Speaking of flood.  It’s been said the predictions for rainfall here with Hurricane Matthew were underestimated, but no matter, because flooding would have occurred at the 8-10 inches they’d forecasted.  We’d already had at least that much the week before.  And instead, this time we got something more like 12 inches, or 14 – depending on who you listen to.

All I know is we got A LOT.  Astonishingly, some got MORE.  And 17 (so far) Make that 20…have tragically lost their lives.  🙁

We lost our internet and phone service first.  Yes, hallelujah for cell phones!  We also have a generator – one strong enough to plug in both refrigerators, TV’s, a couple lamps, and the most important item of all…the beloved coffee pot.  We have a gas stove, so we could cook by using a lighter to fire it up.  We didn’t have hot water – but who’s trying to win a beauty contest?  The generator once it got cranking provided us those few amenities, and despite being LOUD as a yard blower inside your house, it was well worth it.

Sections of I-95 are closed down – right at our exit.  They (DOT) are diverting traffic off of the interstate because of flooding.  Here I was, driving North (I don’t think I was supposed to be – notice NO CARS) while Southbound is being diverted – right on into my town of Dunn. i-95

Rivers are expected to crest tomorrow so the danger is still imminent for those nearby.  The picture below is the Black Creek.  Creek – yeah, um, not so much.  This was on my way to Wal-Mart, a trip that usually takes 5 minutes and took 20.  (remember that I-95 diversion)


There are things one does during times like this.  Without power, you still flip on light switches as you go into a room.  You watch or listen to the Weather Channel 24/7.  You drive an hour and half to find a bag of coffee.  You wait in line at McDonald’s for two hours.  You stare out the window at the storm and pray.

And.. you realize you’re not as prepared as you thought you were.

Here are some trees down in the “hood.”  It might be kind of hard to see unless you click on the picture (?) but either way, one tree down looks like any tree down – if only they had missed those doggone wires.

Here’s a funny story.  The night we got our power back on, I had just said “I love our generator, but I’ll be glad when we can shut that thing off.”  Blip.  Two seconds later, the lights came on.  I wish my husband had taken a picture of my facial expression.

I wanted to go around and turn on EVERY light in the house – just because I could.  I grinned like a fool for hours.  WE still don’t have internet or phone service.  I’m posting this via a little wifi hotspot.

I feel grateful.  And sad.  And conflicted.

Good riddance Hurricane Matthew.  We will never hear your name again.  You took good people from their families, and friends.  You scared the hell out of us.  And you’re one storm I will remember.

What’s your hurricane story?




21 thoughts on “Aftermath”

  1. Thanks for the photos, and I am glad you are safe! I grew up in the Piedmont, so Floyd and Fran were definite memories, but not horror stories. My hurricane story is my mother’s. Camille was a post-tropical depression when it hit Central Virginia. Two feet of rain fell in eight hours. Mountains fell. It was devastating.

    1. Hey there, Indie! I didn’t know you grew up in my neck of the woods. For some reason I recall the name of Camille – likely b/c folks talked about it – like they still talk about Hazel around here. It’s a helpless feeling.

  2. I’ve been worried about you. Glad to know you’re okay.

    First memories mid 1950’s. Carol and Diane. Too young to remember anything but houses floating in the middle of Long Island Sound.
    Mid ‘70s, Bell. Spent the night at the marina where my store was located. Watched men, lashed together walk the bouncing, (like bucking broncos), docks to pump them. They were risking their lives to save docks empty of boats from going down. At 3am the docks sunk anyway. I was sitting in an outer office, next to a decorative ladder, the kind you drape magazines over, and the wind outside had the ladder inside, bouncing against the wall.
    Mid ‘80s Gloria. Lost power for 12 days. On a well. Hauled water from a local pond to flush. Had a one year old and spent my days driving around looking for family and friends with lights and warm water.
    Sandy! OMG Need I say more?

    I’ve readied myself and my family for hurricanes so often, it’s routine.
    One last comment about Sandy. As she approached the store I work in was MOBBED. (Candles anyone.)
    Anyway, somehow a customer and I got on the subject of living on a well without power. She was new to well water. How to flush without power became the question. There I was, behind the counter, giving a lecture, to a line of people 20 deep, about how to flush a toilet if you have no power. The group applauded me. My boss loved it. I said it was my civic ‘duty’.

    1. I told Blaine the older I get the more of a worry wart I become. Yep, I bet Sandy is the one that rises above all others. Your situation regarding the well, yeah – this is why they tell people to fill up their bathtubs if they’re on a well. There are so many scenarios of how people can be affected, and being here in the city (if 9,500 folks can be called a city), we didn’t have to worry about that. Buying food and gas was definitely an issue. A few stores were flooded, lost power, and so, everything perishable had to be tossed. I went to Wally World yesterday and they were still in the process of stocking meat and dairy.

  3. One more comment. I remember my mother talking about The Great New England Hurricane of ’38. (Before hurricanes were named.) It’s the backbone of my latest WIP set in modern day. Now THAT was a hurricane. To me, in our region, as tragic as they are, nothing compares to the ’38 hurricane.

    1. I remember you talking about that as part of the story…interestingly enough…my last WIP was based on back to back hurricanes that came through NC mountains in 1940. Nothing like a little weather drama (it can be written all too real) to amp up the tension!

  4. I can just recall Camille. More recently … I have the stained-glass art piece of my mom’s, the very first one she made, which fell during Irene and has one bent corner. Frances; one of the most neighborly storms I can remember. We were all out, talking together. Weather was stunning after that storm passed. It so often is.

    Gaston was the hardest. I spent three and a half hours getting the six miles to home, and then was turned away from my neighborhood by state police. I was finally able to get to my mother’s house, where she fed and clothed me (I am five inches taller than my mom; her pants on me were comical) and I had a place to sleep. The heartbreaking memory was finally getting home. My dog, Sidney, had NOT MESSED IN THE HOUSE. Nothing. not a spot, not a pile. She was in such distress – thirty-some hours on from the last time I left the home – it still pains me to remember. My Christ, she was a good girl. I had HOPED to come home and find she had “transgressed”. That she had controlled herself to that extent … and been alone through such a storm (she was terrified of storms, and always came to my armpit for safety). Oh sweet Lord, I want to cry even now. My poor Siddy.

    Matthew was kind to us up here in Central VA.

    (2Ns, why would anyone need power to flush a toilet? Do they have electric commodes … ? I know we don’t flush when water lines are compromised in storms, but electricity has nothing to do with any flushing I’ve ever known.)

    1. Ah, Siddy La…what a good dog she was, right? I got a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat at that. I know it had to break your heart, but you got to her finally – although HOW she held on that long, is truly truly truly the mark of a dog who loved her owner beyond measure. R.I.P. Sidney.

      I’ll answer for 2N’s since she might not come back to see it. The power has to do with the ability to bring water from the well into the house – i.e. into a toilet. If there is no power, the pump for the well doesn’t work, and subsequently, there is no water being delivered to the house – or the toilets. That’s (one reason) they tell you to fill your tubs with water. If you’re on a well…and for washing dishes, or taking bird baths, etc.

  5. I was worried about you too, Donna! Thank you for the detailed report and pictures. I’m so sorry for the lives that were lost because of the storm. I just want everybody to be safe already, everywhere — sending prayers. Wonderful that you and yours are safe, my dear. I missed you…<3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you Lilac! We’re about 100 miles from Wilmington – and that’s part of the area at the beach where the eye of the storm skimmed by, but thank goodness it had been reduced to a Cat 1. The winds were one thing (and def not as bad as it could have been) but it was THE RAIN. OMG, in all my born days, I’ve never seen that much rain fall at once. Your thoughts and prayers are (and were) much appreciated! <3 <3 <3

  6. For Floridians we in the Tampa Bay area are lucky. It has been a long time since a hurricane has landed on us. What is good for us is bad for others because a hurricane has to go somewhere. If it misses us it hits someone else.

    The closest calls of late were about ten years ago when five separate storms landed on the state. Charlie was probably the scariest because ti seemed to have us in his sights. This is part of where my dislike of mass evacuation comes from. Pinellas County was evacuated and they ran to Orlando.

    Then Charlie took an unauthorized right at Boca Grande and landed on them. They we not allowed to head back to their homes for days after.

    That year our electricity went out for an extended time twice. We also had a lot of cleanup to do twice. No big deal because it is being stranded by flooding that scares me. That is because I had to go to New Orleans after Katrina and saw one facet of how bad it could be. Flooding in most of Florida is tidally based and only lasts until the tide goes out.

    I am glad that you did not get stuck in the depth of the situation. Rivers just cresting today, almost a week later, is too unsettling to concentrate on. Glad you are on the way back.

    Did Mom stay with you? You haven’t said anything about her yet.

    1. Florida has had more than enough hurricanes and for whatever reason, it’s Andrew I recall for your state – probably b/c I drove down to Key West to visit a friend a few years after and the evidence of it was still apparent. That area of Florida (the lower part of the state – just before Miami) is so flat, with miles and miles of produce farms. I remember how they talked about those thousands of acres of tomatoes etc., being ruined.

      For Mom…to come here would have put her closer to the storm, actually as she’s 45 mins north – in Raleigh. They got about 5 inches of rain compared to the 12-14 for here. But…she lost power anyway – her area always loses power for some reason – even in a mild thunderstorm. Her lights went the same time as ours, and she got it back a few hours after us. But she has a gas stove, and water heater. She has all kinds of hurricane lanterns…so she could cook, and was able to shower…When it went into the third day of no power, she was able to take all her meat to my aunt’s house just a couple miles down the road, so that worked out good for her in that respect. As predicted (like washing your vehicle and then it rains) as soon as she took her meat there – the power came on late that night.

  7. Hey, Donna! Glad you’re okay. We’re just far enough away from rivers and creeks to avoid much flooding, but you don’t have to travel far to run into all sorts of mess. Even four days out, the surrounding towns are waiting to see what happens when the rivers peak. I think the last one to peak is the Tar River on Friday, and that could be nasty. Again, I’m glad you and yours made it through. 🙂

    1. Hey Colin! I thought about you…knowing y’all were East of here, and I wondered how you might be affected. I’m sandwiched in between the Neuse and the Cape Fear rivers – matter of fact, we’re in the Cape Fear basin, but we’re far enough away from both for it to not be a problem. It’s really all about the local streams – like that picture of the Black “Creek” above…that’s usually about three to four feet wide and as you can tell (or maybe not) it had flooded to the point it was more like a lake – or river. I went by yesterday – and the water was GONE. Probably in your area by now. 🙂 Glad you all did okay too!

    1. Thanks Lennon – and YAY! She’s almost here!

      I got my first “fan” mail yesterday. Rosanna M from the blog sent me a nice note. 😉

  8. So glad to hear you are okay! We really don’t get any out of the ordinary weather in northeastern Ohio. Even the level of snow we get is typically normal (for us…we’re used to it) and doesn’t shut us down for long. One tornado in my lifetime I think? No flooding I can remember except in a particular bad spot a couple towns away. So when I say I can’t imagine – I can’t. Thoughts and prayers for those lost and again, so glad you’re okay.

    1. Whoa. ESP moment. I just thought about you yesterday and wondered how classes were treating you? I know you must still be over the moon excited to be pursuing that dream. I can’t wait to address you as “Dr. G.” 🙂

      Flooding is rare here for us too. Never in my born days have I been a part of a weather forecast like this one. Someone here in town (before the storm mind you) said “The rain we had last week was a 100 year rain!” And then came The Storm Who Will Not Be Mentioned. And dumped another 12″ on top of that. Unreal.

      You know who is about to “arrive?” Are you still planning to give it a go? 😉

  9. We ended up evacuated when it looked like the Cat 4 was going to make landfall in our front yard. Fortunately for central Florida, the track veered a bit further west. If it had veered that same amount east, it would have been devastating. I’m a California girl, so this was my first experience with dealing with a hurricane. They still beat earthquakes, but only because you have warning. I’m so glad you and yours are safe.

    1. I wondered about you! But not knowing where you were exactly…I thought, well, maybe she’s okay. I have to think an evacuation would be pretty stressful. I’m not good with being told to leave my home – but I would. Packing up the “Bundle” (a.k.a. Mister) would be the hardest thing. He does NOT do good with noisy crowds – at all. I would have been needing a sedative – for him, and myself.

      I’m glad you’re safe! That’s a little too close for comfort, no?

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