Witness to Hurricane Matthew

. 2 min read

By the communications director for Mission Central … reminding me of living in South Carolina for college during Hurricane Hugo. Keep those affected by this storm in your prayers, support Mission Central and The United Methodist Committee on Relief’s disaster relief efforts. And, read the full story on their site.

My family and I watched the news for several days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew.  We had a vacation planned for Walt Disney World, beginning Saturday, October 8th.
From all accounts, it appeared that the worst of the storm would hit Florida on Thursday night into Friday morning. With a Saturday morning flight and a clear weather forecast, we thought we’d be all right. Always one to prepare, though, I set up a one way rental car for Friday, just in case our flight was cancelled.
Friday morning brought news of damage along Florida’s coast, but inland areas appeared to be spared.  We thought our plans were safe, but by late afternoon, we got the call that our flight had been cancelled.
We picked up our rental car and hit the road that evening, driving through rainy weather until we were too tired to continue.  We figured we’d get a hotel room and work on a travel plan in the morning, based on the weather.
The next day, we were tracking the storm as the morning progressed. Our route had us basically coming in behind Hurricane Matthew and took us through rural highways in South Carolina.  As we proceeded, we quickly went from thinking things weren’t too bad, to realizing the devastation that people were facing in the aftermath of a hurricane.
We were travelling through some of South Carolina’s most depressed and poverty stricken areas.  As we proceeded through small town after town, we saw people wandering around, seemingly in shock.  They gathered together in front of local churches or stores, anywhere where they could find an open parking lot that wasn’t flooded or covered in downed trees.
Houses stood on the side of the road, with varying degrees of damage, but none really appeared to be spared.  Some looked to just have cosmetic damage, while others had shingles missing from rooftops.  Some of the more unlucky ones had large trees smashed right through the homes and some houses were completely destroyed.  Most yards were completely flooded and for stretches of several hundred miles, nobody had power.