It’s become a hurricane-season ritual in the Southeast: When a storm threatens, coastal residents board up homes, load up SUVs and fill highways where the traffic lanes are reversed to offer a speedy escape inland.
For some people, Hurricane Dorian is the fourth storm they have had to flee in four years.
When evacuations started in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, forecasters still weren’t sure if the core of the powerful system would strike the U.S. It has been predicted it would stay offshore as it spun north, paralleling the Southeast coast.
Forecasters and state officials have been watching the storm closely and even just a few dozen miles of difference in the prediction could mean the storm would plow onshore somewhere along that route. So more than a million people were ordered to leave seaside communities, and more evacuations were issued Monday – all the way to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is aware of the complaints. He opened a news conference Monday acknowledging that his evacuation decision would not make everyone happy.
“The best thing in the world would be for that hurricane to take a sharp right and go out in the ocean. We would all celebrate,” McMaster said. “But we would rather be safe than sorry.”
Part of the evacuation fatigue is that recent storms have not had a catastrophic impact along the Atlantic Coast. There were dire possibilities of a Category 4 Hurricane Matthew striking Florida, but that storm made a turn similar to the one forecast for Dorian.
Matthew did cause billions of dollars of wind and flooding damage before coming ashore in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm…