Hurricane Michael: Devastation on Oak Summit Rd

Tree fallen across Oak Summit Rd

Thursday, October 11, 2018 Hurricane Michael caught North Carolina off guard when it made landfall. Torrential rain caused flash flooding in many areas including the studio at Rachael Fern Photography which is what I'm here to talk about.

It was a normal Thursday. I was cleaning and organizing the studio and ignoring the weather alerts coming through on my phone because Winston Salem is several hundred miles inland and hurricanes are not something that general affects us.

So aaANNNYYYWAY, I'm cleaning the studio and I notice some water coming in from the ground level so I did the only thing I know how to do: I freaked out. But then I started mopping. Still in denial about the fact that an actual hurricane was happening in Winston Salem, North Carolina, I decided to go out in my car to buy a shop vac to clean up the water still pouring into the studio. Before I could even finish having that idea, the power went out and it was pitch dark so I, you guessed it, freaked out.

I walked outside and it was immediately clear what happened to the power. A giant tree fell across Oak Summit Rd. After I was done freaking out, I put the camera in a plastic bag and went out to take pictures. The home owner started yelling at me and I thought he was angry that I was taking pictures, but actually he was trying to warn me that I was standing in water next to a live power line on the ground. Somehow, the only thing I wasn't freaking out about.

I went back to my house and stood on the porch to watch the action. And by "action" I mean, lots of pissed off motorists that had to turn around in my driveway.

Side note: Look closely at that third picture. That's a mail carrier, delivering mail...IN A HURRICANE!

Still in denial, I was seriously expecting the power to just pop back on any minute. It didn't, but the storm passed and the linemen started showing up. In the meantime, I used my external power pack to charge my phone and try to rig internet somehow. My main concern in a natural disaster is posting about it on Facebook.

A Category 4, Hurricane Michael was the third most intense hurricane to make landfall. Wind speeds reached 155 mph, the strongest sustained wind speeds since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. There were 50 fatalities, 428,000 people in North Carolina lost power, and there were 150 reports of trees down, although I highly doubt any of the trees were as big as the one in my neighborhood. People in the area were without power for up to five days. I had to leave town and stay with my parents. MY PARENTS!

As it happens, my parents live in Wilmington, North Carolina which was just last month comparably devastated by Hurricane Florence.

Fast forward to one week later and the recovery process is well underway in the neighborhood.

The road is clear, the trees have been cut up and soon the debris will be hauled away, a symbol of the resilience of our community.

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