Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seaside, Florida
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Rep Power: 11
Two and a half years ago my family and I moved to hurricane country without really understanding what this potentially entailed. Two storm seasons quietly came and went, and we were a happy family. Then came last September, with Hanna lurking in the southern Bahamas.
The forecast was for Hanna to develop into a strong Cat 3 or a weak Cat 4, making landfall at Savannah and Hilton Head Island. If this happened, the island would be physically cut in half, thousands of boats and homes destroyed, and many lives lost. This got our attention. The problem was that the storm was still many hundreds of miles away, and moving in a figure-8. So what's a family of four to do? Leave now? Wait? What to do with the boat? Move it? Move it where? Strip it and leave it? Suddenly there were hundreds of decisions to be made.
When the island's fate first seemed to be in jeapordy, I began receiving PMs from Cam. He told me what to do with the boat ("Forget about the boat. It's gone."), and he told me when to PREPARE to leave ("Immediately"). He took the time to look at his charts and to discuss possible places to move it (way up the May River), but decided that the boat was probably safest where it lay.
He also told me to stay put. Cam's PMs came with his own commentary on the weather forecasts, and a few lines on what the island would likely look like in the event that a strong Cat 3 hit. The seabed here is like a gentle ramp that would send salt water sloshing across the island. He also took the time to point out a variety of scenarios that would affect us in less dramatic ways, some of which might allow us to stay put, saving us a great deal of time and money that came with evacuating. If you've ever had to prepare for an evactuation, you know what I'm talking about here. It is extremely disruptive. Cam advised us to stay put, but to be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.
Several thousand people on HHI left early to avoid the massive traffic snarl that would occur if a mandatory evacuation order was given. School was cancelled. In the face of this, my wife took a great deal of comfort in Cam's personal attention, as he has dealt with these situations for many a hurricane season. Simply put, we were getting the best personal advice anyone could ever get. He wasn't playing it safe by telling us to "Get out now!" He was offering nuanced advice, showing a family of hillbillies how to play it smart and safe....
Meanwhile, events slowly played themselves out. Well before the storm reached our lattitude, I got a PM that said, "I am greatly relieved by this morning's forecast. I think you're going to be okay..." This came many hours before the NHC said exactly the same thing. Hanna's top had been torn up by sheer and would be passing well to the east. We were out of the woods, and we hadn't wasted a bunch of time and money by jumping the gun.
Anyway, here's my final point: Cam took a great deal of time and trouble to look out for a family he'd never met. Why? APPARENTLY HE THINKS THE LIVES AND FINANCIAL WELL BEING OF STRANGERS IS IMPORTANT.
Sooo... am I sad to wake up this morning to read of Cam's departure?
Last edited by sailhog; 11-30-2008 at 12:40 PM.