One man's perspective on disaster--A MUST READgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Monday September 20, 1999 07:47 PM
ROCKY MOUNT (WRAL) -- In a disaster of Hurricane Floyd's magnitude, just about everyone has a story to tell.
One man who lives on the Tar River reservoir has had a prime seat for watching the storm's path -- and the large footprint it left. Rob Martin shared his thoughts with readers of the WRAL-TV5 OnLine Hurricane Disaster Forum.
We thought his writing was so poignant it deserved to be brought forward on the site.
Friday, Sept. 17, 6 p.m.
"Rob Martin here...I live on the Tar River Reservoir about 3 miles upriver (west) of the dam. At present the river appears to have crested, and has gone down about 1 foot from yesterday evening's level.
I was unable to get my boat out of the river in time due to back ups at the trailer ramps on Wednesday, and left mine tied to my dock, storm-rigged and purposefully flooded. This afternoon I took a very slow and careful tour of the reservoir to check damage and to see if anyone needed assistance.
I was unable to proceed farther than the next road bridge in either direction due to the extremely high water level. The water level at the Bend Of The River Road bridge is about 4 to 8 ft below the bottom of the bridge (the bridge slopes downward southbound) and was too low for me to risk going under. Also, the river narrows here and is sort of the throat of a funnel....water extremely fast and turbulent, very dangerous....my 120HP engine had trouble pulling out of the 'funnel' and chugging back upriver against the current.
I saw no particular danger spots in the immediate 2-3 miles of the Tar River Reservoir next to the Rocky Mount/Wilson Airport on NC 97. All homes seemed to be just out of the water, and no one flagged me down for assistance.
I am told that some homes here have power and phone, but that both go on and off unpredictably. Currently I do have phone (obviously), though mine has gone on and off repeatedly as well. I am fine except for some fairly torn-up legs due to the debris in the river racing by at high speed when I was saving my boat yesterday afternoon.
I'm not getting much news, but I can tell you that it seems like a war zone in that helicopters are everywhere, and planes are coming in and out of Rocky Mount/Wilson Airport on a steady basis.
I've heard a rumor that the dike gave out and Princeville is flooded, but I know nothing else about this. I don't know what else to add at this point...and I need to use my computer to check what news I can.
This is quite scary, I must say.....earlier today as I was moving my boat closer to shore once again, I was chest high in water when I looked down to see that I was wading through about 40 to 50 dead chickens, presumably from some nearby farm (in a flowing river, debris tends to bunch up and float along as a single mass). I was reminded of the Stephen King novel, "The Stand."
Friday, Sept. 17, 7:05 p.m.
7:05pm ET, Rob Martin again......I've just now retied my boat out in deeper water in case the level goes down overnight, don't want to strand my boat in my back yard!
I'm using a crude layman's method of measuring the water level, but I can say with fair confidence that the water level has gone down another 4 inches or so from this afternoon, and a total of 12-18 inches down from yesterday afternoon. I have been unable to garner any news about the poor folks in Princeville and would appreciate a post from anyone who knows anything.
As a new poster here, I got my necessary password via email immediately, so give it a try...don't not post because you're a new user, I was too.
Saturday, Sept. 18, 9:25 a.m.
9:25am ET Good morning, Rob Martin again. Thanks to those people who e-mailed me with info re Princeville.
In my rudimentary unofficial way, I've again checked the water level in the Tar River Reservoir across 97 from the east end of the Rocky Mount/Wilson Airport. It appears to have gone down another 4-6 inches or so since last night.
My electricity has remained on all morning, as has my phone service -- a truly remarkable statement about current technology.
On a sad note, I have pulled the body of an adult female Chocolate Labrador retriever from the south side of the reservoir, approximately 1 mile east of the airport entrance, indicating from where upriver it may have come.
She had no collar or other indication of name or owner. I have buried her properly.
I need info on the following questions, if anyone knows, please post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, to wit: Is there some sort of curfew for our area (NC 97 on the reservoir, near the airport)?
My wife and daughter are anxious to come home from where they are staying in Chapel Hill, but can't get info re: curfews, road status. Can they get here? By which route? 264 to I-95 to NC 97? US 64 to ?
Are they allowed to try? Everything I pull up on the internet is outdated, or old enough info to be considered probably outdated. More later................THANKS!
Sunday, September 19, 00:45 a.m. 00:45am ET..Rob Martin again, from the banks of the Tar River Reservoir.
Today my wife and daughter returned home, and I am completed. I missed them more after three days of this than I would have after three weeks without them before Floyd.
This afternoon I sat by the riverside as I awaited their arrival, sipping coffee made from well-boiled water, sitting upon the trunk of the downed elm tree that till Thursday held up one end of my hammock. I watched the river flow by, swift and swollen with debris. As I sat and watched, pieces of houses, and garages, and docks -- pieces of lives -- swept past, and I looked over my shoulder at our undamaged home.
My wife and child arrived soon after, and I hugged my daughter's neck a bit tighter than I might usually. My wife's too, and so, too, the new family kitten they'd taken with them.
I hugged that kitten I'd heretofore essentially ignored in a way some child must have hugged the chocolate lab I buried yesterday. In that moment I thought about death, and luck, and God, and I thought about the endless flights of a thousand helicopters, filled with a thousand brave souls.
I thought about the people of Princeville, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount. I thought about the people who simply did not make it, their silent disbelief and resignation when that moment inevitably came for them.
I thought about how today, September 19th, is my birthday, but a day of great, great sorrow for so many others.
I thought about how soon it would be before I again complained of small things and petty grievances.
I thought about my grandfather, and other dead friends, and of how I would inevitably join them one day. I thought about how my Scottish immigrant grandfather had jokingly said he hoped he'd go to hell because he wouldn't know a damn soul in heaven.
I thought about the drunken 18th century poet I'd been named after, and his most well-known lines, lines well-known because of the simple truth they hold:
"Th' best laid plans o' mice an' men may aft gang aglee..."
(The best laid plans of mice and men may often go awry.) -- Robert Burns
To those of you who took the time to send me those bits and pieces of information about road conditions and such, each was insufficient alone, but, joined as a whole, the information put me again with my family, and may none but God ever separate us again.
My heart goes out to the families of those who died this week, and indeed may yet die, and my admiration and gratitude to those who chose to work for rescue and resolution.
Shall the saints preserve us, they shall deserve us, and may I never take life for granted again.
Sincerely, Rob Martin.....and family.
Sunday, September 19, later in the day
Well, I thought that with the most immediate emergencies attended to, my family safely home, and clear blue skies smiling down, the need to post had past.
Now we hear that a dike has burst upriver and more water will be released into the reservoir, raising its water level another 4-6 inches. I truly hope that is true, that ONLY 4-6 inches is forthcoming. I understand that rain is possible for Tuesday and/or Wednesday, and I just don't want to even think about that yet.
Just one week ago we were worried about the drought. Alanis Morrisette's 'Isn't It Ironic' just came my daughter's radio.
Our situation here is good..we have ample water (or the ability to boil ample water), ample food, and high spirits, due in no small part by the overwhelmingly supportive response to my posts we've gotten via the e-mails. My heart goes out to all of you, and returns to me so very much more the richer.
Be advised that when I woke up (a bit late) this morning, I was fearful I'd slept too late and had allowed my boat to become beached in my backyard due to the slowly receding waters. No such luck........the water is now HIGHER than it was when I sneaked around the National Guard/police perimeter on Thursday afternoon.
The bodies of various farm animals and many many birds are beginning to pile up against the shore amidst the flotsam, and is beginning to add the stench of death to our predicament.
More later........my daughter is soooooo bored without TV! (Thursday was her 5th birthday, and today is mine!)
>Sunday, September 19, 7:25 p.m.
7:25pm ET. Rob Martin again........
From the "just when you think things can't get any worse" file: Just within the last couple hours, I've seen and killed more water moccasins then I've seen since we moved here.
To anyone living on or near water: BE CAREFUL! I'm no snake expert, but I'm surmising that the snakes are being driven out of their nests by the high waters, and/or are coming out in pursuit of prey who've been driven out by the high waters.
It's beginning to feel like a Charleston Heston movie around here, what with these various 'plagues.' Sure could use 'Chuck' to come on down east and part some waters for us!
Once again......watch out for SNAKES! (Especially at night when most snake bites occur!)
Can anyone offer expert advice on poisonous critters and infectious bug bites????
More later......(I'm going now to mark my door post with lamb's blood, ju-u-u-u-st in case)
Monday, September 20, 12:20 p.m.
12:20pm ET Rob Martin again.
Currently, the reservoir water level is down a very few inches after rising overnight due to the dike or levee that apparently let loose upriver near Louisburg.
Overall, the water level is now only 4-6 inches below its highest point since Floyd. I know enough to know that each hour under water causes the ground to grow increasingly sodden, and this in turn weakens the foundations of all constructions, be they homes, levees, dikes, bridges, etc...
We are not out of the woods by any means. Being patient, thank goodness, becomes so much easier when you have no other choice. And you still get credit for it!
Speaking of patience, my wife returned to work today, and I am with my 5-year-old today.
Her school (where she was Student of the Month her very first month in kindergarten!) will be closed at least until Monday, September 27th.
Our cable remains out and, as I type, I am watching "The Wizard Of Oz" for the third time since she came home Saturday. Overall, I've seen it about 538 times, and can mouth the dialogue as it plays.
I've been careful to check for snakes whenever we go outside, and encourage others to do the same. I saw several this morning, but none of the poisonous variety, mostly black snakes.
Prior to my wife and daughter's (Student of the Month) return, I had managed to dispose of the carcasses of chickens, birds, and other critters, placing them where I knew that bacteria, maggots, and fish would eliminate them, but a few continue to come onshore with the current. Luckily, we are in a small cove out of the main current or it might well be worse.
On a happier note, a family of ducks my daughter (did I mention she was Student of the Month?) has placed on her own little welfare program have returned, and we fed them some sodden bird seed from my garage. Thanks to my daughter's largesse, these ducks mug me whenever I go near the river, and berate me until I feed them.
Also back are some herons, and a beautiful, impossibly bright white egret.
I see that President Clinton was scheduled to speak in Tarboro today as part of his tour of the damaged areas. I hope people were able to leave politics out of it for once.
Like children, we tend to resent authority..........until the boogeyman comes, and then we scream for authority to save us.
This is no time for the pettiness of politics; like him or not, it's the President's duty to be here. God bless all the Guardsmen and other military personnel I presume were inside all those helicopters.
Assuming no new dike ruptures or other catastrophes, I will return to my job duties as a substance abuse counselor in Raleigh tomorrow, and I don't anticipate any further need to post. (Yes, I know, I said that once before). I'd like to thank all the kind people who took the time to e-mail us with kind words of support, information, safety suggestions, and such, and I would ask all readers to do just one simple thing....... figure out who you love and then tell them.
The best laid plans indeed........you just never know. Thank you and bless you all. Rob Martin & Family.
-- Old Git (email@example.com), September 20, 1999
What's being done and how you can help (please note the number of times the Salvation Army is mentioned as feeding people): Hurricane Relief Information
Last updated: Mon Sep 20 19:45:50 1999
Beaufort Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding site beginning today in eastern North Carolina. Each of the sites offer meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Washington Trade Mart, U.S. 64, in Beaufort.
Bertie Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will offer meals, snacks and drinks. from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Windsor Elementary School.
Brunswick Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding sites beginning today. Each of the sites offer meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p-m. For Brunswick, it is the county government site at Bolivia, and on Oak Island, they will be roaming.
Columbus Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding sites beginning today. Each of the sites offer meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p. m. For Columbus Co, the sites are: Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Volunteer Fire Department; Livingstone Baptist Church near Bolton; Bolton Fire Department.
Cumberland Sunday, September 19 Fayetteville's First Presbyterian Church on Bow Street will be taking donations for flood victims Monday from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. The number is 910-483-0121. They are asking for cash donations, non-perishable food, baby items and clothing.
Dare Monday, September 20: All fire departments north of Oregon Inlet will be collecting non-perishable food items such as canned goods, bottled water, baby food and diapers and blankets through Friday for people who have been effected by Hurricane Floyd west of Dare County. Fire stations in Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Colinton and Roanoke Island will be accepting donations through Friday and will deliver the donations on Saturday. EMS stations throughout the county are also accepting donations.
Duplin Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding sites beginning today. Each of the sites offer meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p .m. For Duplin, the sites are: Chinquapin; Kenansville; First Baptist Church in Wallace.
Durham Monday, September 20 Westminster Presbyterian Church of Durham collectign funds for the Tarboro/Princeville area. Checks can be mailed to: Flood relief Fund, c/o Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3639 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham N.C. 27707 Grey Stone Baptist Church, in cooperation with Madison Avenue Baptist Church in Goldsboro, is accepting non-perishable items and financial contributions for flood victims. Drop-off site is 2601 Hillsborough Rd. in Durham beginning Monday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Immaculate Conception Churxh, 725 Burch Ave. will be accepting relief contributions of non-perishable food and toiletries from 1-6 Tuesday-Saturday. Items will be distributed through North Carolina Food Bank.
Edgecombe Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will offers meals, snacks and drinks from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Martin Middle School in Tarboro. Beginning Tuesday, non-perishable donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 730 W. Wilson Street, Tarboro and Morning Star Church of Christ, R.T. McCarter Fellowship Hall, 225 S. Glendale, Rocky Mount Cash donations are extrememly needed and can be sent to: Edgecombe County Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 10, Tarboro, N.C. 27886 or can be taken to any Centura Bank branch in Tarboro or Rocky Mount.
Sunday, September 19 The National Guard Armory at 600 Walnut St. off Raleigh Road, Rocky Mount is offering water. Two gallons per family.
Harnett Sunday, September 19 Food Lion and SAFE are accepting non-perishable food donations at the store at 401 North from 8 a.m - 7 p.m. daily.
Johnston Monday, September 20: The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce will collect non-perishable items during Mule Days, September 23-26.
Jones Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will offer meals, snacks and drinks from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Trenton Civic Center.
Lee Lee County Churches and community are accepting donations of dry goods at First Presbyterian in Sanford from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The church is located next to the Lee County Library on Hawkins Ave.
Lenoir Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will offers meals, snacks and drinks from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Lenoir Community College in Snow Hill.
Nash Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will provide meals, snacks and drinks at Parker Middle School in Rocky Mount from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. beginning today. Heritage Bank in Bailey is accepting monetary donations. Please make checks payable to the "Princeville Hurricane Fund"
Sunday, September 19 The National Guard Armory at 600 Walnut St. off Raleigh Road, Rocky Mount is offering water. Two gallons per family.
New Hanover Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding site beginning today. Each site offers meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p-m. For New Hanover, the sites are: Salvation Army headquarters, Wilmington; Food Lion, Castle Hayne Road, Castle Hayne; Carolina Beach Senior Center
Northampton Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will offer meals, snacks and drinks from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the following locations in Woodland.
Onslow Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding site beginning today. Each site offers meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m at North Topsail Beach Town Hall; roaming unit in Jacksonville.
Orange Monday, September 20 Lowes Food in Hillsborough is collecting food for the Food Bank of North Carolina on 151 Mayo Street. Monetary donations can be sent to the Food Bank of North Carolina at 3808 Tarheel Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609. St. Thomas More, 940 Carmichael St., Chapel Hill will be accepting relief contributions of non-perishable food and toiletries from 1-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Items will be distributed through North Carolina Food Bank.
Pitt Monday, Sept. 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following feeding sites beginning today. Each site offers meals, snacks and drinks. They will remain open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The site for Pitt is Calico, a roving unit, and in Greenville, two roving units. Holy Temple Baptist Church on Briley Road will be giving away unprepared food and canned goods beginning at noon.
Sunday, Sept. 19 Hurricane Floyd Relief Fund, c/o Pitt County Financial Services, 1717 West Fifth Street, Greenville, North Carolina 27834 Donations for flood victims can be dropped off at the warehouse next to the Pepsi plant at 1809 Dickinson Ave., in Greenville. Needed: blankets, pillows, diapers, baby formula, toilet paper, water, non-perishable food, drinks, and toiletries. Prepared, perishable and fresh foods can NOT be accepted. Clothing donations should be taken to the Salvation Army at 2337 Dickinson Ave. Extension in Greenville.
Vance Vance Charter School students are organizing a "Floyd Relief Drive" for Thursday, Sept. 24. Donations of non-perishable food and personal hygiene items may be dropped off at the school from 8:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. On Thursday, items may also be dropped off from 3:45 -5 p.m. The school is located in the former JC Penney store in the Henderson Mall on Dabney Drive.
Wake Monday, September 20 Apex Volunteer Fire Department is accepting donations of any kind at 210 North Salem Street, Downtown Apex. Red Lobster in Cary is accepting non-perishable donations for hurricane victims for the next two weeks. The restaurant will donate the goods to the Food Bank of North Carolina. The Salvation Army of Raleigh is accepting donations at 902 Wake Forest Road between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Items needed include bottled water, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, paper products and baby care items. For more information call 832-6918. The following Catholic churches in the Triangle will be accepting relief contributions of non-perishable food and toiletries from 1-6 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday. Items will be distributed through North Carolina Food Bank: St. Francis of the Assisi Parish, 11401 Leesville Road, Raleigh; St. Andrew the Apostle, 3008 Old Raleigh, Apex; St. Mary, Mother of Church, 1008 Vandora Springs Road, Garner.
Wayne Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will offer meals, snacks and drinks from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the following locations: County Fairgrounds, Goldsboro; Emergency Operations Center, Goldsboro; Seven Springs Fire Department, Goldsboro. Lowes at 1202 Berkley Blvd, in Goldsboro will match financial donations of up to $2,500. You can also drop off non-perishable foods, water, and diapers.
Wilson Monday, September 20 The Salvation Army will provide the following fixed and roving feeding sites Each of the sites offer me from 9 a.m. until 6 p-m. Meals, snacks and drinks will be offered at the Salvation Army Headquarters in Wilson.
The Salvation Army has set up a drop-off site for donations and a pick-up site for those needing help at the Parkwood Mall in Wilson, in the old Winn-Dixie location. It will be open as long as there is a need. Land of Learning Child Care on Airport Blvd., is taking donations of household items until Thursday.
Sunday, September 19 Lowe's Home Center at 2501 Forest Hills Road is giving away free drinking water and accepting donations for the American Red Cross. Lowe's will match up $25,000 in donations to the American Red Cross. First Presbyterian Church in Wilson is offering clothing, linens, and financial help to flood victims at 414 Sunset Rd. Call 252-243-3115 for assistance.
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 20, 1999.
Lately I've been getting the impression that this type of calamity,---so current and close to home are a universal symbol for all of us to take heed!!
It is fairly easy to articulate hypotheticals about rollover. but man o man this type of event kind of makes it all a little too real.
Thankyou for the post!! Respectfully
-- David Butts (email@example.com), September 20, 1999.
That be Miz Git, mon...
-- Just (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 1999.
I'm afraid wer'e going to see more of this. There was a hurricane lull between the 60s and the 90s which is now over, and the warming of the planet and the seas will generate more, bigger hurricanes.
What we learn here in NC goes a long way toward Y2k or any other disaster planning. We need to develop expectations and habits that will make us more resilient to these storms since we're going to have more of them. The hurricane turned a degree north and spared us here in Chapel Hill for the most part, but that luck is going to run out someday.
-- Forrest Covington (email@example.com), September 21, 1999.
Wow, Old Git, what a treasure.
"To those of you who took the time to send me those bits and pieces of information about road conditions and such, each was insufficient alone, but, joined as a whole, the information put me again with my family, and may none but God ever separate us again."
Long live the www. !!
Thanks for posting, much wisdom to glean from these paragraphs. You can learn it in your head in print, but I fear many of us can only learn it in our hearts by experience.
-- Deborah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 1999.