If we have learned anything this year, it is that you never know what tomorrow will bring. We had been warned that 2017 would be an active hurricane year and so far the predictions are all too accurate. Has there been another time that two major hurricanes made landfall in the US during the same year?
I remember one. Back in 1996, I had moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, with an idea of finding my next life and career there. But then Bertha came to visit followed by Fran and that changed everything. The only thing anyone could talk about was storm damage.
As Bertha approached the coast of the Carolinas, it was “only a Category 1 storm” so no one was terribly worried. Then it made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on July 12th between Wrightsville Beach and Topsail Beach and caused $300 million worth of damage. Back then I was an avid golfer and I remember playing certain golf courses before the storm that had hundreds of trees, most of which were felled by Bertha.
That year, a second hurricane was already forming before the Carolinas had recovered from Bertha. Fran became a Category 3 as it approached the Bahamas and made landfall on September 6 near Bald Head Island, just south of Wilmington, North Carolina. I am watching the Weather Channel right now and listening to them talk about the fact that Irma is now “only a Category 3 storm” and I remember how scary that powerful storm was. I lived alone in a small house in the town of Wilmington. There were big trees lining the street and the noise of the wind was terrifying. My little Toyota Celica was parked outside and I remember the sound of a large tree branch crashing onto the street, missing my car by inches. We lost power and I sat in the dark.
To jog my memory, I located a story Looking Back at Hurricanes Bertha and Fran, and found this reference “Probably the most visible sign of damage was the First Baptist Church in Wilmington, losing its 197-foot steeple.” If you were watching the Weather Channel or CNN back then, all of the media were gathered in front of that church and the crumbled steeple for days. That was only 2 blocks from where I lived.
I did not stay in Wilmington, North Carolina, a town I really liked, partly due to Bertha and Fran. But I needed to find a new career and get back to work, so I headed back north and landed here in Delaware by 2000. So often in life, our choices are due to events beyond our control. What if there had been no hurricanes in 1996 and what if I had discovered real estate would become my next career while I was living in North Carolina? Then I never would have met my husband Bill and we would not now be the owners of Active Adults Realty.
Are you ready Delaware?
So, if Irma or the next hurricane heads to Coastal Delaware, I know we will be prepared. We are stocked with water and a good supply of non-perishable food. We have a generator and our water comes from a well. And if they say “Evacuate”, we will. But first, we will do our best to help our friends and clients get ready and get out as well.
Be safe my friends in Florida and let’s not forget all the people in Texas affected by Harvey that have gotten lost in the coverage of Irma.