Go with the Flo

As I write this, Hurricane Florence is sitting out in the Atlantic Ocean deciding what she wants to do.

She’s still a few days away from landfall, so there is really no telling, although I sit well in the middle of the possible cone. Granted, there are thousands of models that have it going miles north and south of me. Of course, there are also models that have Florence driving into my neighborhood, taking a left, parking in my driveway, walking up my sidewalk and ringing the doorbell.

So I’m nothing if not on alert.

My family has lived on the coast for more than four years, so we definitely look at storms differently than we did prior to moving here. Previously, I followed them as an avid weather watcher. Now, I follow them as an avid insurance keeper-up-to-dater.

We have evacuated twice since we have lived here. The first time doesn’t really count, as we were planning to go out of town that weekend anyways. The second time the governor ordered an evacuation, and we politely complied. In South Carolina, evacuations are not classified as “volunteer” or “mandatory.” They are just “evacuations.” It’s the emergency responders’ way of saying, “Yeah, if y’all could not be here creating additional, unnecessary headaches while we work to solve actual problems, that would be super.”

Last year, a storm came a callin’ and my wife and daughter headed out of town prior to it hitting land. There wasn’t an evacuation in order, but they decided it was a good time for a girls’ weekend, so good on them.

My son and I stayed behind and endured some rain and a bit of wind, and our WiFi did flicker on and off a couple of times, so we don’t exactly qualify for survivor awards.

We are going to be sensible, regardless of what Florence does. (And not just because there are a bunch of storms lining up behind her just for sport.)

But sensibility is key. We did not make a run on the grocery store, as plenty of folks have done. Quick question, folks who have raided the milk and bread aisles: What are you going to do with all of that stuff? Unless the answer is “Impenetrable Bread Fort,” I think you may overbought.

The bottled water aisle has also been ransacked, as my wife and I noticed while at the grocery store earlier today. For what it’s worth, during such weather preparation times, those doing their usual grocery shopping should get a special flag for their carts that reads, “Not panicking. Just weekly shopping.” Also, we should get our own check-out line.

As we were checking out, we were chatting with the manager about the run on essentials. We asked him if they had another water shipment planned. He said, “Nope. We’re just directing people to the beer from now on.” I hope he was not kidding, as that’s awesome.

So now we wait. We will keep an eye on social media and follow the updates from our various officials. Odds are more likely that not that the storm will not be a direct hit, but that option is still certainly in the cards.

Should Florence decide to be a massive beast that wants to come and visit my home personally, we will most likely not be here to greet her. If she goes elsewhere and just sends some side effects our way, we will probably be here and will ride it out as we have in the past. Either way, we know we’ve got a few days to decide what we do. And that gives us plenty of time to get to the store. For beer.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at


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