A blooming dogwood on East Dogwood Trail is barely visible against the backdrop of this morning’s cloudy sky.

What a difference a day makes. From shorts and sandals to sweaters and warm jackets. From radiant sunshine to turbulent skies.

Forecasts show a coastal storm heading our way, arriving in the area tonight and likely peaking tomorrow morning. It is expected to bring heavy rainfall and strong north-northeast winds—on the order of 40 to 50 mph—that will cause rough surf and pose the threat of ocean overwash.

Soon we will be battening the hatches, as well as hunkering down. But we know this drill.

By now you probably have your own COVID-19 news update drill, too, in what people are calling our “new normal” life.

Besides the local media, I recommend The Raleigh News & Observer for a state roundup, and, not surprisingly, The Washington Post and The New York Times for national news. All three are offering free access to their coronavirus stories.

Dare County Emergency Management issues its daily bulletin by 1 p.m.  See https://www.darenc.com/departments/emergency-management/.

The N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services daily updates its COVID-19 case count by 11 a.m. See https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.

Executive orders signed by Governor Roy Cooper and other news from the Governor’s Office generally are announced after noon and are readily available on the NCDHHS website.

The Governor’s latest executive order, announced yesterday, is No. 122. It is designed to help schools and local governments access state surplus property that they may need during the coronavirus emergency, such as protective equipment for healthcare workers and computers for schools.

See https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO122-State-Surplus-Property.pdf.

As you undoubtedly know, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide Stay at Home order yesterday that was effective immediately and included the closure of all beaches, except for “fishing and exercise.”

We are fortunate to be on an island and to be able to better control access to our beaches. Their closure because of public irresponsibility would be a great loss.

The Virginia order is in effect through June 30, unless it is rescinded or modified.

Governor Northam, a pediatric neurologist who served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, has been criticized for being slow to act, but a week ago at a press briefing, he made clear that he is basing his decisions on science and available medical/scientific data. After consulting with his coronavirus advisory group, he said he expects the new normal with COVID-19 to last months, not just weeks. That is his realistic assessment.

For updates from Virginia and Governor Northam, see https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/.

A friend who lives in Florida recently sent me a poem she had written titled “The Pandemic.” It’s made up of four-line stanzas and rather lengthy. She’s no Maya Angelou, but she is thoughtful and perceptive, as well as compassionate and altruistic. My favorite two lines are as follows:

“While sheltered in our homes we step back and give ourselves reprieve;

“To reflect on where we are as a nation, who we are as a people, and in what we believe.”

I would be delighted to publish poetry written about our current situation by any of you. I am not a poet, but I deeply appreciate the art form and welcome your contributions. Please send them to ssbeaconeditor@gmail.com. I will give you the copyright, of course.

The Beacon will keep you up to date with any breaking news about Southern Shores and with important county and state updates, but in the coming days, I also may try to entertain you with stories that you’re not seeing in other media.

Take care during the storm.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 3/31/20


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