SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Last week, I was fully prepared to stand before you and question the quick triggers from both South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System board as Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the Atlantic Seaboard.
But a funny thing happened on the way to my forum. I was asked to go to Wilmington, NC to assist our sister station there. I got a first-hand look at the damage and devastation created by Florence.
Wilmington endured more than 36 hours of hurricane force winds and rains creating not only wind damage, but flood waters that all but isolated the city.
Florence has already taken more than 40 lives and is estimated to have created as much as $50 billion in damage, but there’s potentially more to come as the after effects of Florence are still threatening the South Carolina coast line. Residents from Charleston to Myrtle Beach are bracing this week for potential flooding caused by the rainfall Florence dumped on the eastern United States.
Many, myself included, thought the mandatory evacuation order of Beaufort and Jasper counties as well as the cancelling of school in Chatham County were premature at best and a significant over-reaction at worst.
Ultimately, the governor allowed Beaufort County officials to weigh in and he backed off the evacuation.
In Savannah, the school district had already planned for a make-up day, so their caution didn’t come at the expense of a school day.
Fortunately, our region was spared from any impact from Florence, unlike the past two years with Matthew and Irma, but the experience of North Carolina has reminded us yet again to never let our guard down and never under react to any potential threat.