I Might Need A New Lawn Mower Before Florence Is Done

The high water problems we've been having in my neighborhood this week are nothing compared to what's happening in the Carolinas, where Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday morning.

Hundreds of thousands are without power as winds howled this weekend, pushing the ocean into the streets of coastal communities.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper described Florence as an "uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave," when he spoke to my NPR newsroom colleagues.

Both North and South Carolina are getting soaked. And forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami have been warning for days of "life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding."

Although the situation here in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle pales in comparison, high water has been a problem for much of the summer. It's been unusually wet. Just this week, one of my neighbors ended up with nearly four feet of water in his basement.

We are almost certain to get more rain from Florence - rain we don't need. The National Weather Service in the state capital of Charleston warned of heavy rainfall from the hurricane's remnants in a Friday morning message posted to Twitter. And the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper says state officials are preparing for 40-mile-per-hour winds and up to four inches of rain in eastern West Virginia as soon as late Sunday. 

Now, I usually like a good rainy day. A rainy day means I don't have to work as hard to explain to my wife why I chose to stream old "Star Trek" episodes all day rather than drag my butt outside to mow the lawn. All I have to do is mute the TV for second, shrug my shoulders and say something like, "It's just too wet." But there are times when one must acknowledge the truth in "too much of a good thing."

We're waterlogged.

When I got my haircut this week, my barber said he's never seen a summer as wet as this one. And he's been around almost as long as I have, not that either one of us are THAT long in the tooth, by the way.

Officials around here have confirmed my barber's observation. They told The Journal, our local newspaper, that the water table is at capacity, meaning rain from Florence could very well result in wet basements, again.

Or worse.

Unlike some of my neighbors, I don't have a hose stretching down to the end of my driveway, draining water from the darker recesses of my home.

In fact, the only thing I'm worried about right now is my yard. It's getting ambitious.

If things don't dry out soon, I'm not sure my rickety old lawn mower will be able to cut it without having what amounts to a fatal coronary.

I'm not necessarily looking forward to the prospect of having to invest in a new mower. I'd rather simply ignore my yard and let grow as wild as it wants.

But if I have to, then so be it. It would be a small price to pay for escaping the sort of real damage Florence is inflicting on others this weekend.


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