The rains came, and in some places the deluge that continued for days on end brought heavy flooding the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades.
But as bad as the rains were in South Carolina cities like Charleston and Columbia, or in areas near us like Wilmington and Topsail Beach, we all know it could have been far, far worse.
A hurricane was barrelling down on us last week, increasing from a tropical storm to first a Cat 1 hurricane and then finally to a ferocious Cat 3. At one point, forecasters were predicting a landfall in the area of the Cape Fear, an outcome of which would have rivaled Floyd.
Thankfully, the front that brought the rains likely played a large role in moving the hurricane away from North and South Carolina, and eventually away from the East Coast.
But we here in Sampson County, as well as residents across this state, should be aware that had the hurricane barrelled toward us, emergency workers were at the ready, armed with the plans and the knowledge needed to ensure that we were able to ride out the storm as safely as humanly possible when Mother Nature turns vicious.
Locally, emergency preparedness teams began to meet early and often to talk about the things that would be necessary, and they provided great details to the media in hopes of getting that word, in turn, to residents.
It takes a well-oiled machine to enact plans that normally just gather dust as one hurricane season passes and another is planned for, and that machine was both in place and at work as local teams monitored the storm and mapped out plans for how it would be handled locally should the hurricane make its way toward Sampson.
Thankfully, the storm turned away from us and the rains, though heavy and threatening, did far less damage than at one time thought. But residents, who often don’t even know the planning that goes into disasters that often are averted, should know that county officials, law enforcement, emergency personnel, hospital officials and others came together with them in mind, working out plans to help us all get through the storm if necessary.
In the end, those plans were shelved, there to be looked at and considered the next time a tropical storm forms in the Atlantic and heads our way.
For us, averting the hurricane is one more blessing we should all count, but it’s not the only one with regard to this and other storms. Though we may not always be aware of all the work public servants do on our behalf, we can be assured that they are out there, sleeves rolled up and ears tuned to the forecast, waiting and watching, ready to enact the plans they have rehearsed and prepared for time after time.
We are thankful for their readiness, amazed at their attention to detail and filled with respect for the jobs they do from 9 to 5 and beyond.