This may be the most Charleston thing ever, 21st century edition: You type “where” into Google, and it automatically suggests “…is Jim Cantore?”

Because everyone around here uses that completely scientific method to determine a hurricane’s landfall.

Labor Day weekend is approaching, and so is another potentially disastrous storm. It seems this time of year always comes at the most horrible time of the year. So inconvenient.

Don’t these storms know we have things to do, a long weekend to plan for?

Some of us have fantasy football drafts. But instead of monitoring Ezekiel Elliott’s contract negotiations, we’re poring over spaghetti models that predict this latest storm will hit somewhere between Miami and Manitoba.

So helpful.

This is supposed to be Charleston’s last blowout beach weekend of the season, but right now only the Washout surfers are happy. For the rest of us, this is a dilemma.

As in, when raiding Publix, do we buy 18 gallons of milk — or a couple cases of Bud Light?

It’s all part of the Lowcountry's five stages of hurricane grief.

1st stage: Ignore. “It’s not gonna hit us.”

2nd stage: On second thought. “Maybe it’s a good time to go visit grandma.”

3rd stage: Study. “GFDL says it’s looking like Cape Canaveral.”

4th stage: Prep. “What do you mean $239 a night for the Best Western Asheville?”

5th stage: Acceptance. “The roads will be too crowded. Let’s just hope the cable doesn’t go out.”

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It is the same every year: Hardware stores sell out of plywood, somebody drops $800 on a generator, and The Post and Courier’s Bo Petersen can’t get anything done because every single person in the newsroom stops by to ask where the storm is really going.

And here’s how it will (probably) play out: The track will continue to toggle back and forth as old-timers wait for the inevitable, horrifying “turn to the north.”

By Saturday, we’ll have news photos of ominous storm clouds off the coast, all cleverly captioned “the picture of Dorian’s gray.” Then people worry that, if they pull out the grill, it will end up on the Grand Strand.

And finally it will rain, parts of the city will flood — nothing new there — and someone will inevitably say we dodged a bullet.

Except, sometimes it goes much differently, much more horribly. Longtime Charleston residents know this all too well.

And that’s why we go through this ritualistic madness.

Reach Brian Hicks at

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