The coast of North Carolina didn’t fare as well
Hurricane Florence is the fourth disaster to occur in our beloved state since this blog was launched in 2014. After the 1,000 year flood in October of 2015, Hurricane Matthew struck in October of 2016 and then Hurricane Irma struck in September 2017. Rebuilding is not complete from the prior catastrophes.
Many of us were concerned that the projected path of Hurricane Florence that was heading for us last week seemed reminiscent of 1989’s Hurricane Hugo which tore across our state doing significant damage from the coast to the upstate. Thankfully, Florence didn’t repeat that history. It took a similar path, but it weakened to the extent that we suffered only a rainy weekend here in Columbia.
The coast of North Carolina, though, is experiencing flooding and road closures, and there are some extensive flooding concerns in areas of our coastline and Pee Dee. Conway, Cheraw and surrounding areas are watching continuing flooding threats. There are further concerns that the flooding rivers in North Carolina will eventually cause water problems in South Carolina.
On my way to work this morning, I passed the remains of several businesses that were destroyed when Gills Creek flooded in 2015. Other areas in and around Columbia are still in the rebuilding process or have been completely abandoned. Many homeowners have made their homes bigger, stronger and certainly taller. Others have given up and moved away.
I saw a joke on Facebook last week that waiting for Hurricane Florence was like being stalked by a turtle. Another jokester quipped that if you name a hurricane after an old woman, you should expect her to travel at 3 miles per hour, heading right, with her left blinker on.
These disasters definitely bring out the best and the worst in folks. We saw first responders and linemen on the Interstates heading toward the coast last week. We saw churches and schools set up shelters. I heard of a real estate agent in North Litchfield Beach who set up a Facebook page to keep absentee owners informed. He even offered to secure properties for nervous absentee owners. On the other hand, we saw news coverage that looters were active in the areas that were hardest hit.
Dirt lawyers are in an exceptional position to support clients who may not be familiar with the assistance available to them. We have all learned a lot in the last few years. I challenge each of us to continue to educate ourselves and to be available to offer the valuable advice our neighbors and others will need in the days ahead. Local, state and federal governments seem better prepared this time around and seem to be working better to coordinate efforts. Carolinians are strong and resilient, and we are stronger and more resilient now than we were for the last disaster.
Let’s once again rise to the occasion, real estate lawyers, and provide the best advice available for our clients and friends who will need it as they sort out, clean up and rebuild.