If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hurricane Matthew on Hatteras Island by E. B. Davis

As I write this blog, Hurricane Matthew blows around my stilted house on Hatteras Island. It is now only a Category One hurricane at sustained winds barely above tropical storm status at seventy-five miles per hour, with gusts of eighty-miles per hour. My body mirrors the storm. The continuous roar of wind I hear transmits from my ears down my central nervous system, which my brain monitors, tamping down panic. Gusts shake my house back and forth on its stilts. Each gust elevates my heart rate. I see the water level rising and flowing down my neighborhood street. The water has now reached two feet under my house. Our first floor is four feet above the ground, eight feet above Pamlico Sound. The storm surge must now be six feet. Lost in writing this blog, I now realize the electricity cut off a few minutes ago.

 Figure 1: October 9, 2016 http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

I have watched the National Hurricane Center forecasts for two weeks, driving myself nearly insane with analytics of cause/effect/plan/action. On their website, NOAA’s predictive trajectory path was outlined in red with the eye bolded in a circle in the center of the cone, changing each day. The plotted predictions changed radically throughout that time. The first predictions showed the storm heading straight for us from the Caribbean. Then the predictions changed—the storm going as far north as Wilmington, North Carolina—heading east into the Atlantic without coming near the Outer Banks, and then traveling south in a reverse question mark configuration. Everyone wondered if Matthew would circle round and hit Florida twice. My evaluations changed numerous times as a result of NOAA’s changes in the predictive model. 

Figure 2: Our driveway--beyond the electric pole--the street.
 Those forecasts prompted me to make reservations at a hotel on the mainland in case the storm headed near us. I changed the reservation several times due to changes in the predicted storm path. Hearing the last prediction twenty-four hours ago, which downgraded the hurricane to a tropical storm heading out to sea before reaching us, I cancelled the reservation. In twelve hours, the model changed again. It still showed the storm passing us in the ocean well off the coast.

Figure 3: Someone's canoe passes through

The eye passed over our house at three a.m. The silence permeated our sleep. We awoke and, an hour later, the wind resumed in the opposite direction, building storm surge. I only hope the wind changes before the waters reach our first floor.
I’m not angry because NOAA can’t predict the weather. But their pretending to be able to predict leads everyone to false conclusions, ones that can have dire consequences. I know in the small print there are the error probabilities, limiting their liability. The science of weather isn’t exact. However, Dare County was going to declare a Hatteras Island tourist evacuation on Thursday. Based on the official predictions, the county did not ask visitors to leave. The storm is now preventing visitors from coming onto the island since Route 12, our only road off the island, is closed from Bodie Island to the most northern part of Hatteras Island. I can’t imagine what those tourists trapped on the island are experiencing.
Figure 4: When the Pampas Grass was first planted.

Millions of tax dollars invested in satellite technology result in accurate documentation of the storm, but predictive capabilities are limited. Relying on historical data seems a better bet. Most hurricanes follow the Gulf Stream, which parallels the US east coast, its closest point at Cape Hatteras. From now on I will stop believing what the National Hurricane Center tells us and plan based on many factors, not just what the officials tell us. We've now experienced two "one-hundred" year storms within one month.

Figure 5: Storm view/Same location
The storm caused unanticipated flooding on Hatteras Island and in mainland North Carolina, which made me glad that I stayed here and didn’t go to a hotel on the mainland. I would have been trapped off-island preventing me from starting the cleanup—a week’s project--for me.

Others in Frisco and Hatteras Village lost most of their possessions when flood waters over a foot deep deluged their homes. Route 12 is lined with water-damaged appliances, bedding, carpets, and other home basics. The Salvation Army Home Store truck is parked at Frisco's Fire Station. Federal assistance is necessary.  

Tourists have been allowed to come back to the island. People work, play, and enjoy Hatteras Island even if our paradise turns into hell now and again. The waters have receded, the sun is shining, and a cool air mass has kept the mosquitoes from hatching—life on the sandbar is getting back to normal.  




Margaret Turkevich said...

what a miserable experience! So glad you and your house are unharmed. I was on Cape Cod for Hurricane Bob in 1991. We had little time to prepare, and the aftermath (no power for four days) seemed to last forever.

For you, the anticipation and uncertainty must have been agonizing.

Gloria Alden said...

How frightening that must have been. I'm glad you and your house came through it. I know a lot of other people weren't so lucky.

E. B. Davis said...

We were very lucky. Many residents of Hatteras Island were not lucky. If their houses were low, they were flooded. Along Route 12, the main road, there are tons of storm debris as well as damaged bedding, appliances, furniture, all the essentials of life, which cost money to replace. Most are also having to rip out drywall, siding, and plywood. They will have to rebuild. I wish there were loans for these people so that they could elevate their houses. It's the only way history won't repeat itself. Our house is high, which is great in a flood. However, in a higher category hurricane with stronger winds, our roof could be in jeopardy.

Grace Topping said...

What a relief that you didn't have lots of damage. We went to Duck, NC, and didn't realize that Hurricane Charlie was coming through. That was quite an experience. It just goes to show you how ill-informed we were about the coming storm.

Shari Randall said...

Whoa, what a storm. I am just glad that you and your house came through. I love that area and totally get why people want to live on that "sandbar"- I wouldn't mind myself. Since you've been through two hundred-year storms in such a short time, I think it's only fair that Mother Nature leave you alone for awhile.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Elaine, I always love the posts you write, particularly those about the beach. I'm so glad you and your family are safe!

Jim Jackson said...

Our Savannah place is also "high." It's a relative term in Georgia Lowcountry. You can pick you natural disasters--hurricanes on the coasts, tornadoes in the Midwest, earthquakes hither and thither--but you never know when it will happen, just that it will.

Fortunately for both of us, this was not our time.

~ Jim

Susan said...

I don't know how you even slept. Even though I live in the tornado alley of the Midwest, I can't imagine being at the mercy of a hurricane. I would be so anxious 24/7. I think if weather people were paid according to correct predictions, they'd all starve. I'm so glad to hear you are safe and with some damage, but less than it might have been. The photographs sure tell it all!


Kait said...

OMG, this is so scary. I am glad that you are yours are safe. I know there was much heartbreak and devastation on Hatteras, and in all the places Matthew visited.

Donna Gough said...

Elaine, so glad to hear you and your hubby and your home are okay! We rode through Hermine last month, and that was bad enough. Matthew brought in a lot more water and flooding than that. Glad to hear it stayed below your first floor! --Donna

Kaye George said...

i'm so glad to read this report! i've been wondering about you and hoping you were ok! glad you made it through and hope the cleanup isn't too awful.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. After moving to Hatteras, the one thing I've found is that everyday is different, not necessarily in your control, and real demands take a toll on available time. I am coping and hoping this winter is much more calm!