By MINDY LUCAS
Only a few days after Hurricane Dorian passed dangerously close to the Lowcountry, there was hardly any sign a major storm had moved through the area, save for some downed trees and debris-strewn yards.
The storm, which picked up strength as it closed in on South Carolina last week had fortunately continued to move up the coast and stayed out to sea, causing less damage and hardly any flooding compared to previous hurricanes Matthew and Irma.
By Monday, Sept. 9, most businesses and government offices had reopened and returned to their normal operating schedules.
But for the first few days after, the storm left a considerable number of those in Beaufort, particularly on Lady’s Island and St. Helena Island, without power. Outage maps showed more than 20,000 residents were without power on Thursday, Sept. 5.
By Saturday however, crews with Dominion Energy had restored power to 92 percent of its customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
In South Carolina, crews were expected to restore power to nearly all customers by Sunday night, a news release from the company stated.
While there were no fires in Beaufort during the hurricane, the City of Beaufort/ Town of Port Royal Fire Department responded to 21 storm-related calls for downed trees or similar incidents, said department chief Reece Bertholf.
However, in Burton, a fire had crews with the Burton Fire District and Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services scrambling in the middle of the hurricane.
The fire, at a house on Bonaire Circle in the Shell Point area, broke out around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, said Captain Dan Byrne with the district.
Firefighters arriving on the scene found a single family home with flames coming through the roof. While the blaze was brought under control quickly, high winds kept reigniting embers and driving flames, Byrne said.
A man at the home was able to escape the fire and was uninjured, he said. The man has been displaced by the fire.
Firefighters remained on the scene for longer than two hours making sure the blaze was fully extinguished. While the fire was unintentional, it has not been determined if it was caused by the storm, Byrne said on Thursday.
The department also responded to more than 13 storm-related calls, involving trees and downed power lines, and were called to four medical emergencies involving people experiencing breathing difficulties and chest pains, Byrne said.
By midday Thursday, there was little evidence of any major flooding in the downtown Beaufort Historic District and a few people could be seen walking through Waterfront Park.
Most of the businesses along Bay Street appeared to have weathered the storm well and only one broken window from a second floor could be found along the sidewalk in front of Lowcountry Real Estate.
Hurricane Dorian follows Matthew in 2016, and Irma, in 2017, which caused considerable damage and flooding in the Lowcountry.
The storm has caused at least 45 confirmed deaths in the Bahamas, according to national news outlets and the search for many more still missing, continues.
Above: Hunter VanDam of Coastal Tree Service cuts up limbs from a massive downed oak tree which fell during Hurricane Dorian in Shell Point. There were no injuries, save two backyard fences. Photo by Bob Sofaly