Lynne Cope Hummell

You’ll be happy to know that, as of 11 p.m. Sept. 8, former Hurricane Dorian had been re-classified. According to the National Hurricane Center, it was identified as a “post-tropical cyclone” as it moves “over the cold waters of the Labrador Sea and becomes fully extratropical.”

It was done wreaking havoc from the Caribbean to Canada.

This was the last advisory. The Canadian Hurricane Center discontinued all cyclone warnings for Atlantic Canada.

But it was still a storm, with 60 mph winds and poking along at 24 mph. Tropical storm force winds were still extending out to 415 miles from the center, and maybe causing a little rain in Newfoundland, but that was OK. It was destined to just spin out in the sea.

By Sept. 10, it would be absorbed by a larger low pressure system.

Thank goodness that’s over.

Our collective anxiety level can take a breather.

In the days leading to Dorian’s appearance near the Lowcountry, we were jangled through days of anticipation. Would it develop? Would it turn straight north, then east, and leave everyone alone? Would it make a beeline for our beloved coast?

Upon its landfall in the Bahamas – followed by nearly two solid days of continued battering – things got serious fast. The reports from the Caribbean were not good. Category 5. The highest winds ever recorded. Parts of the Bahamas, such as the Abacos, were devastated.

Still, we had no way of knowing what would come next. A period of “wait and see” quickly turned into an evacuation order in the six counties of our South Carolina coastline. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Governor’s call, we must consider that he didn’t make it lightly.

As we have discussed every year, the call is based on knowledge, experience, logic, science and sensibilities of a roomful of experts. There is also a matter of the safety of hundreds of thousands of people to consider in the case of a natural event taking an unnatural turn – against all predictions, spaghetti models and cones of uncertainty.

Unpredicted zigs and zags have happened before. Remember Hurricane Hugo in 1989, turning just a hair at midnight, away from Hilton Head and instead hitting Charleston? And what about Hurricane Leslie in 2018? Though this one did not threaten us, it danced around the ocean in a figure 8 near Bermuda for a few days.

When the Dorian evacuation order was given, some treated it like a good suggestion while others took it as a demand, and still others considered it absurd.

The decision to stay or to go has to be up to the individual. None of us knows what motivates one completely sane, logical, thoughtful and informed person to dig in for the duration, while another completely sane, logical, thoughtful and informed person packs up immediately and hits the road.

It’s not a matter of stupidity or fear or uninformed judgment in either case. It’s a matter of what is right for the person as an individual or the family as a unit.

There are as many variables in the equation as there are people. There might be “stay” or “go” issues because of very old or unwell parents, or sick children, or very young children. Others might not have transportation, or a place to go, or enough money for gas or a hotel room.

Some have bad past experiences in a violent storm, or fear of getting stuck somewhere. Some take advantage of the opportunity to visit family or go on vacation.

Still others consider the livelihood of business they prefer keep open, and employees who have no family close by. Some decisions are based on the welfare of pets.

Hard as it might be, we can’t judge one another. We are not in anyone’s shoes but our own.