There was quite a bit of confusion about where Hugo was going to make landfall. Even when we found out that Charleston was ground zero, Hank and I didn't fret so awful much. Our town about 35 miles inland up the Cooper River. We'd endured edges of hurricanes and many a tropical storm in our lifetimes. The town we grew up in was 45 miles in from the coast and never experienced anything but a little wind and some rain. SO....we stayed home. All of our friends stayed home. How bad could it be...Hank and I sat out one storm...can't remember which one but it would have been '84 or '85, with friends in the bar at the Mills House Hotel on Meeting Street. Fun times!
For Hugo, we had some flashlights and a radio and as an afterthought, filled the bathtubs up with water as we hunkered down with three year old Legare. While our experience here at home was nothing like that of Katrina folks who didn't get out, I think it's safe to say that from 11 PM or so until about 5 AM the next morning we were as scared as we have ever been in our entire lives. Not Legare though, he slept through the whole thing.
When it started to get really dicey and the power went out, we moved from the den to the downstairs powder room which is across the hall from a small coat closet. There were periods of time during the night that I truly feared that we would not be alive to see the morning. For instance, when the pressure sucked all of the water out of the pipes in the house. Have you ever sat on the floor in your bathroom listening to something akin to a freight train bearing down on you IN the dark with just a flashlight and watched the water being sucked out of the toilet??? It's creepy...very creepy.
During the eye of the storm, we walked out on our front porch...eerie....so still...but the porch hadn't been ripped off so that seemed like a good thing. Some of our neighbor's roof, however, was in the front yard. That was bad. There were trees down all around one of our cars, but not ON the car. That was good. We walked upstairs...the guest bath window was broken. Later we discovered it was from the neighbor's flying roof. All in all, we were still standing (we didn't know that some of our neighbor's were NOT), so we went back downstairs to get ready for the other side of the storm. Let me tell you, it was every bit as scary as the first part of the storm.
In the days following, everybody said that it was a good thing all of this went on during darkness....that if it had happened during the day so that we could actually see what was going on, lots more people would have been hurt or killed...not just from trying to run outside to try to fix or save something, but from a heart attack or stroke from the sheer terror. I suppose that's true because...
Gotta go now...will finish this later.