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7 Sep 2019
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Hurricanes and Storms

Hurricane Dorian came and went.  The Lowcountry is open for business once again! Thankfully it was nowhere near the impact that had been feared.  

Bye Bye, Dorian

  It’s been a tense week around Charleston and the entire Atlantic coast.  As I mentioned before, SC Governor McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of coastal counties beginning Monday at noon.  Once that happens, schools and governmental offices shut down.  People prep their properties and leave.  The state reversed north/westbound lanes of I-26 so that all lanes headed away from the coast. The lane reversals were supposed to end noon on Wednesday.  The Governor ended up extending it a couple hours since traffic was still steady heading out.  

Hurricane Dorian’s slow path to South Carolina

  This time, many residents on the Isle of Palms decided to stay put and weather the storm. Hurricane Dorian slowly made its way up the coast. It’s been a very large and unpredictable storm.  The general thought was it would make landfall in Florida.  Jim Cantore et. al. camped out there and gave dire predictions. But that didn’t happen.  It dropped to a Cat 2.  Dorian had been a named storm for thirteen days, unheard of in weather circles.  The hurricane had stalled right on top of the poor Abacos, causing such terrible destruction there. Then the attention started to shift to Charleston and the Lowcountry in general. The first outer bands of Hurricane Dorian began hitting the Isle of Palms Wednesday morning about 8:30.  Heavy rain, wind and thunder arrived, signaling what was to come. By Wednesday evening, it was picking up speed, but also intensity.  That night it strengthened into a Cat 3  -  officially making it a major hurricane as it approached Charleston.  The rains came down and the winds whipped up. The big concern was the times of high tides  -  basically, 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday for the Isle of Palms pier.  The big concern on the IOP was storm surge   -  possibly between four to seven feet.  The timing of the storm’s passing, whether it would make landfall and where, the wind speed and direction  -  all these factors were part of the equation.  We waited with breath that was baited.  

Timing is Key

  Around 11:00 a.m. Thursday, Isle of Palms police clocked winds at 62 mph on the Connector.  Thankfully, Dorian stayed off the coast.  The storm’s eye was about 45 miles off the beach as it passed the Holy City. Copious amounts of rain fell  -  by my count, about twelve inches total.  But the timing with the tides proved fortuitous.  By the time of the afternoon high tide, winds had shifted.   Instead of blowing the water onshore, they actually were blowing the opposite direction, helping push the water out into the ocean. The storm surge they had feared did not occur.  Praise the Lord!  

Effects on the IOP

  There was a lot of rain and flooding, but it was similar to what the IOP’s seen in previous storms.  Leaves and small branches basically covered most roads, yards and decks.  The storm blew down some trees around the island, with a few uprooted, and knocked down some power lines.  One was down at Palm Blvd. and 3rd Avenue. However, unlike much of Mount Pleasant, Charleston, West Ashley, North Charleston and Summerville, a lot of the Isle lost power for only short periods of time.  It flickered a lot but then came back on.  Parts of the island near the downed lines are still having issues. Cleanup began in earnest right away across the Lowcountry. The weather is gorgeous, as if the sky has been scrubbed clean.  The Governor lifted the mandatory evacuation yesterday morning.  Residents who left are returning.  Schools reopen Monday.  Most businesses are back up and running.  Read more about that here. If you are booked in one of our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, just contact us at EP and we’ll fill you in on the latest. We feel very blessed and relieved here on the IOP.  It’s a lovely day on the Isle of Palms.  People are hitting the beach.  See for yourself on Exclusive Properties’ intrepid beach cam, which showed live video throughout Hurricane Dorian. All best, Lowcountry Lisa your Isle of Palms vacation blogger