It’s been a little while since my last blog. It’s been a rough month here in the Lowcountry. You may or may not have heard, but Hurricane Matthew hit with a vengeance here in the wee morning hours of Saturday, October 8th.
In fact the Island Packet is reporting that officials are still not done with assessing the damage on Hilton Head Island yet, as the task of going one by one to each structure has been daunting.
“More than 3,700 homes and businesses on Hilton Head Island, or about 19 percent of the total number of structures, likely sustained damage from Hurricane Matthew, town officials are saying preliminary estimates show.
Of the estimated 3,724 damaged buildings, about 392 — 2 percent of the island’s total 19,600 structures and 10.5 percent of the damaged buildings — likely had substantial damage, Shawn Colin, town deputy director of community development, said Monday.
Substantial damage is considered repair costs that equal 50 percent or more of the assessed valuation of a home, Colin said. For example, a home with an assessed valuation of $200,000 would have 50 percent damage if estimated repair costs were $100,000.”
And they are only 2/3rds of the way thru evaluating the properties on Hilton Head Island.
Other barrier islands in Beaufort County, such as Fripp, Harbor, and Daufuskie Islands are also still being analyzed for the heavy toll the storm took on their shores and residents. It may be weeks or months yet, before we even begin to total the damages.
The thing that the newspapers and television reporters have had a very difficult time in conveying, is that we are so strong here. Strong in our resolve, strong in our will to rebuild, strong in our desire to help one another, strong in our hearts to love our lowcountry.
I felt it myself as I “hunkered down” in Charlotte to ride out the storm with my family and pets. My desire to return to my beloved Bluffton was so strong, I could hardly wait for the order from the governor to get back. Judging from the reports and the pictures of the traffic jams on Highway 278, I wasn’t the only one.
The following 20 days since the storm have been a whirlwind. Checking on neighbors, friends, and on the homes and units of out of state owners. Cleaning up debris and cutting up downed trees. Helping wherever any of us could. Donating meals, cleaning and hygiene items, to worthy causes like Samaritan’s Purse (I can’t say enough good about this organization and highly encourage you to click that link!), and to the awesome first responders who stayed behind risking their lives to take care of those who stayed behind and all of our homes. We have been a community united, even if the outside world hasn’t seemed to take note.
It’s ok. I don’t need the world to know how wonderful it is here. It’ll just be our little secret. I love living here, and have such a sense of pride. And an even deeper love for my lowcountry home. And it’s people. No matter what life deals us here, we love. We take care of one another. We are “lowcountry strong” and this is a wonderful place to live, and always will be.
Tomorrow is another (awesome) day!