It was around 10:30 p.m. Sunday when the tornado sirens started blaring and word of an evacuation started circulating on social media.

Geoff Dardia, a former Mainer now living in North Carolina, grabbed his bags and his daughter. They were on their way out the door when they learned it was a false alarm. They went back inside their home near Fayetteville, about 90 miles inland.

“We got a little bit of a practice drill,” said Dardia, 42.

By Monday night, Florence had passed through town. Dardia, who is from Kennebunkport and is an active duty member of the Army stationed out of Fort Bragg, said he kept a close watch on the creek behind his home because he was worried about river flooding. But in the end, they didn’t need to put their practice drill to use.

“We’re good,” he said. “All the neighborhoods around us got flooded. But we’re OK. We made it.”

Florence has weakened to a tropical depression, but heavy rains and flooding were still menacing parts of the Carolinas on Monday.


Josie Conn, who is originally from New Vineyard, stayed up late Saturday night in her home in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She watched weather reports and thought about the big trees in her neighbor’s yard.

“I was up until midnight, just listening and watching the weather,” said Conn, 37. “I probably shouldn’t have watched the news so much because it was showing a lot of devastation, and I was really scared.”

While the storm ripped trees up at the roots less than a mile from her house, Conn said they only had a few branches down in the backyard. The power flickered but never went out completely. As the sun peeked out from behind the clouds Monday, Conn restocked bread at the grocery store and planned for her kids to go back to school Tuesday.

She was thankful when she saw her city’s Facebook page announced they had no local injuries from the storm. More than 30 people have died during the storm.

“We’re pretty lucky,” Conn said.

Other Mainers in the storm’s path weren’t as fortunate.


Former Winslow resident Kaylie Conti and her husband, two dogs and a cat evacuated their home in Wilmington, North Carolina, last week to stay in Durham, more than 150 miles north.

Conti learned Monday that the floodwater had reached her neighborhood in Wilmingtom on Sunday and officials had evacuated residents who tried to stick out the storm.

“Wilmington and Leland … have pretty much been cut off since many of the roads have washed out and sink holes are forming, so a lot of us who evacuated are stuck and have no way back home,” Conti said in an email.

Conti, who works at a hospital in Wilmington, said employees who stayed to help keep the hospital functioning are now stranded while the National Guard assists them and supplies are brought in by helicopters.

“There’s only one road to (and) from and it is flooded out on both sides,” she said. “It’s definitely a crazy scene down here.”

Tim Cramer, formerly of South China and Waterville, planned on riding out the storm in his second-floor apartment in Wilmington. Cramer said Monday that he was “surviving” and that he was without power.


“Sunshine is out today,” he said in a Facebook message. “Saturday was almost worse than Friday … but again, everyone is OK and now the cleanup begins.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writers Sam Shepherd and Charles Eichacker contributed to this report.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: