SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's said we can learn a lot about ourselves in times of adversity. If that's true, then the education we got from Hurricane Matthew should earn all of us PhDs in hurricane survival.
It's hard to believe it's been less than two weeks since Matthew roared through here, leaving most of the Coastal Empire and Low Country without power, knocking downs thousands of trees and flooding streets and homes.
Thanks to lessons learned from previous storms, we were as prepared as we could have been. People took evacuation orders seriously and left, likely saving lives, but also making the immediate cleanup effort easier. Yes, there's some work to be done on how we communicate and execute allowing people to return, but the plan worked. As did the contraflow lanes.
So did the plans for all of our area's electric companies. To go from a peak of about 300,000 homes and businesses without power the day after the storm to nearly all of it returned within five days is nothing short of amazing and a credit to those people who worked the lines, day and night to make that happen.
Consider this: As bad as Matthew was, it could have been much worse. We just took a glancing blow, not a direct hit. Even that last little wobble east spared us from a much worse fate.
And as many trees that were downed by the storm, relatively few did damage to property, which is little comfort to those who did sustain substantial damage, a group of which I'm included. And there's no obvious infrastructure damage.
While we're likely to see large piles of debris and roofs decorated with blue tarps for some time, life around here is quickly returning to normal.
We won't soon forget Matthew and our individual tales of survival, but we should also not take for granted what we learned and how we can all be smarter next time, because there will be a next time.