Tybee in the storm: Wind, weird rain before the worst

Bowie Seafood on Tybee Island is boarded up in advance of Hurricane Matthew. DAN CHAPMAN/ dchapman@ajc.com

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Bowie Seafood on Tybee Island is boarded up in advance of Hurricane Matthew. DAN CHAPMAN/ dchapman@ajc.com

Tybee is completely cut off from the mainland, with U.S. 80 underwater in spots. Power is out on the north end. It’s dark. And the wind, gusting at 50 to 60 mph, turns the rain sideways.

Entire streets on the flood-prone southeast corner of the island are underwater, yet still passable. They won’t be for long.

The rain is weird and frightening how it vacillates between bucket-of-water deluge and sprinkle. Sometimes even the super-fast wipers don’t help.

Most everybody is gone, evacuated smartly like the authorities ordered. There’s a curfew in place till sunrise. But the police left by noon. They have families too.

A couple though, mugs in hand, walk casually through the deluge. A truck cruises by. A seagull sits midstream, er … mid-street, confused and maybe tired. A car hits him.

A burglar alarm wails on Tybrisa Street in the swampy business district, but there’s nobody around to respond.

Palm fronds atop skinny trees dance in the wind, first this way, then that. They’ve shed leaves. They’ll shed more.

The worst of the storm should come soon — early Saturday morning, by 2. Hurricane-force winds. A 9- to 11-foot tidal surge is expected. High tide is at 1:21 a.m. That’s when the fun begins.