Dorian dusts lowcountry with minimal impacts
It was another close call for residents of Daniel Island and the greater Cainhoy peninsula as Hurricane Dorian, the fourth mega storm to impact the South Carolina coast in three years, brushed the Lowcountry without making a direct hit.
The day after the storm, as the sun rose against clear blue skies, residents emerged from their homes counting their blessings and breathing a collective sigh of relief.
“We just hunkered down, watched movies, and did puzzles,” said Daniel Island resident Karen Burton, whose family decided to stay in place during the storm. “It looked like it might stay offshore so we didn’t worry too much…I just hope we don’t get complacent in the future.”
Bryan Bain and his family live in the Beresford Hall neighborhood off Clements Ferry Road. They, too, decided to ride out the storm.
“We try to make the decision as unemotional as possible and set our ‘limits’ when there aren’t any storms around,” noted Bain. “A 4 or a 5 with impact at or near Charleston - windows boarded up and we’re out of here no questions asked. A strong 3 we won’t board up the windows but we will have everything packed and probably leave the day before. A weak 3 or strong 2, like Dorian, and we will probably stay.”
“There’s pros and cons for living just about anywhere,” he continued. “We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but we have to deal with the occasional storm. Unlike tornadoes and earthquakes, at least the hurricanes are polite enough to give us a few days warning before they come for a visit.”
There were some issues to contend with as a result of Dorian – multiple downed trees, a blanket of leaves and branches to clean up, and mostly minor property damage – but it could have been much, much worse, as evidenced by the catastrophic destruction left by Dorian in the Bahamas. While power remained on during the storm for those living on Daniel Island proper, there were several neighborhoods along the Clements Ferry Road corridor that were not as fortunate. It took at least a day or two for most to get electricity back in those areas.
Over the weekend, the sound of chainsaws and leaf blowers echoed throughout the community and residents could be seen raking their yards and collecting debris to place curbside for pick-up. Overall, the Daniel Island community suffered few problems as a result of Dorian. According to Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association, the POA office fielded over 100 storm-related messages to its firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
“The most serious issues were trees blocking roads and a few that had fallen against homes,” said Baker. “We did not experience any flooding issues. We very much appreciate residents forwarding all of their concerns to ‘reportaproblem.’ This enables us to keep track of all requests and prioritize them for quick response.”
The City of Charleston also tracked calls for service on Daniel Island, as well as the greater Cainhoy peninsula, and reported that they received approximately 17 requests for assistance from the area. Most were related to trees down, street signs/light post damage, debris and other damage to property.
As of noon on Friday, Sept. 5, the day after the storm, the city reported there were 148 trees and 36 power lines and cables down citywide, with 108 road closures in effect. On Saturday, more than 500 city employees were dispatched throughout the day to assist citizens.
“I would like to thank our local and state officials for the excellent preparation and response to emergency issues before, during and after Hurricane Dorian,” stated Baker. “It is so important to listen to our elected leaders and when the Governor calls for an evacuation, it is smart to heed the order.”
From a law enforcement perspective, officers with Team 5 on Daniel Island were also out and about before, during and after the storm to check on conditions. They operated on 12-hour shifts with 15 officers assigned to both day and night shifts – using Bishop England High School as a staging area.
“We did not have any major issues, but did respond to a variety of storm-related issues,” said Lt. Patrick McLaughlin, commanding officer for Team 5. “There were trees and limbs down, partially in the roadway in several spots. We had calls about power lines leaning, signs blown down or over, traffic control lights damaged or twisted. We also had a couple of areas of flooding that cleared up fairly quickly.”
While Charleston was certainly spared the worst of Dorian’s wrath, both Baker and McLaughlin hope the hurricane’s near miss of the Lowcountry won’t keep residents from being vigilant when the next big storm comes calling.
“We want everyone to keep safety as the primary focus during natural disasters,” said McLaughlin. “If evacuating, do so in a timely manner and take precautions to secure your property. Following the storm, driving carefully is key especially with power outages or damaged traffic control devices.”
“While Daniel Island has been fortunate in years past and with Hurricane Dorian, if this hurricane had arrived a few hours later or before and made landfall a few more miles closer, we could be experiencing a very different recovery effort on Daniel Island,” added Baker.