Sopping wet…soggy… and drenched— downtown Charleston received a record breaking amount of rain today thanks to Hurricane Isaac, and I was a witness. In the little townhouse we are living in, I started noticing a very heavy dose of rain around 11:00 this morning. Stetson started his usual “shake-down” with the first clap of thunder. He has always let me know when a thunderstorm is on the way before I can even tell. He can sense something and always lets me know by coming up to me, nudging my hand, and then having a whole body shake. Sure enough, after his usual tell “tail” signs, a massive thunder storm arrived. The old windows in this early 1900’s townhouse started rattling.
I didn’t think much of it until I was supposed to go pick up Rocky from the hospital. Crew and I got in the car and started driving across town to MUSC. We were fine until we got into the middle of the downtown area. I started realizing cars were turning around because they couldn’t make it through the flooded streets. The harder I pushed to get over to that side of the peninsula, the more I realized the severity of the situation. It literally made me go into a survival mode as I saw cars stalling out, and there was one floating as the wake from larger cars met it . I was driving a suburban and was able to pass through some of the flood waters to try to get block by block closer to Rocky. As we got closer to the hospital, ambulances were unable to pass through the traffic to reach the emergency room. It was a state of complete chaos… a state like I have never personally experienced before. The College of Charleston, the Citadel, and all local schools immediately closed down as soon as the flood waters started.
I finally was able to locate Rocky outside of MUSC, and he had to wade in his white coat and slacks through knee deep water to jump in the suburban. We took a very slow and circuitous route through downtown Charleston to get home. We had to make many decisions to turn around as to avoid getting in dangerous water. On our way, we saw cyclists with their wheels submerged and pedestrians trudging through the fast moving water not sure of what they were wading through. I, being the worrier I am, decided to stop at the store and buy all the water I could get my hands on plus their last cans of soup. My brain was thinking that we were in full hurricane preparation. I saw my mother fill the bathtubs with water enough as a child that you didn’t have to tell me twice that things were not going smoothly. On top of it all, the weather reporters kept warning that the tide was coming in and there would be no where for this water to go!
You can imagine that I did not get to do a lot of exploring today, but I did see Charleston through another light. I imagined, as I was slowly making my way across the peninsula, that Charleston has seen its fair share of natural disasters. Its has weathered hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding, and the same buildings have made it through the centuries. That fact gave me some peace as I passed by the houses that could tell these stories. It gave me some reassurance that in the company of such stoic architecture, I could force myself through town and get Rocky. Look at these pictures that illustrate what we experienced. I must admit, for about an hour today, I wanted to come home to the safety of Greenville and the familiar. I didn’t think I could handle being in such a congested area that was put under so much stress. But, after pulling together, I realized it makes me stronger getting out of my comfort zone and really taking in my surrounding. Look at this kayaker in the city market!
On to tomorrow!