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Riding the Storm Out

5 mins read

Some stay, some go as hurricane that thrashed Bahamas prompts State of Emergency, evacuation for Beaufort County

By MIKE McCOMBS

Impatient and anxious. And with good reason to be so.

That’s how Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling describes waiting for a hurricane, in this case Hurricane Dorian. I agree, wholeheartedly.

Dorian translated from Greek means “maintains possessions well.” 

As I write this, she is doing just that, maintaining that in her possession, moving slowly from the devastated Bahamas on an unknown path that will in some way or another cast a shadow on our life here. We are all possessed by her until she passes. Some, long after.

But by the time you read these words about waiting for Dorian, she will have likely already made her mark, whatever that may be, on Beaufort County. Hopefully you are all safe, well and have suffered as little loss as humanly possible.

On Sunday, S.C. Governor Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation of coastal areas, including Beaufort County, beginning Monday at noon.

But as expected, Beaufortonians are stubborn. 

As blue sunny skies belied the dark clouds to come on Tuesday, Beaufort resident Ken Szarek talked of his decision, like many, to stay put with his family. (Obviously, I’m still here, as well.)

“The risk of going on the road is more than the risk of staying sheltered in place,” Szarek said. “it’s my first time staying. But I learned from the last couple times that maybe I should have stayed.”

Previously, Szarek would pack the family and drive to refuge with relatives in Asheville, N.C., normally a 4-hour drive or so. Last time, the drive took 10 hours.

“With the amount of information that we get now, I can make a more informed decision than I could in previous hurricanes,” he said. “Obviously each hurricane is a different process.”

His house is stockpiled with food, water and a generator and the plan is to hunker down.

“Nah, I’m staying here. There’s far more danger to my family on that road,” he said.

Courtney Cadien felt differently. She left Monday for the panhandle and Gulf coast of Florida for a mini vacation.

“It was a mandatory evacuation,” she said. “I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic, stuck without power. And there’s flooding. We have flooding in our neighborhood when it downpours.”

No matter what you and your family did, I hope it worked out and you’re safe and well.

For those that stayed, please share your stories, news, photos and videos with us at TheIslandNews@gmail.com. 

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  Beaufort County School District schools will be closed until further notice, and a decision to reopen schools will be made based on when the governor lifts the evacuation order and after an evaluation of any damage to school buildings. A decision on reopening schools – as well as a decision on weather make-up days – will be communicated as quickly as possible.

– Beaufort Memorial Hospital expanded access to virtual doctor visits. People needing non-emergency medical care can connect with a doctor by downloading the BMH Care Anywhere app or visiting BMHCareAnywhere.org. Beaufort Memorial will waive all fees through Sept. 15. For a free visit, enter the code DORIAN on the payment screen. The service will be available throughout the evacuation period and can also be accessed outside of South Carolina for those who left the area.

Above: Two employees with SP Plus, a subcontractor to the City of Beaufort in charge of parking meters, pay stations and collection of the funds, wrap on of the pay stations with plastic wrap and seal it all up with packing tape. Monday near the Downtown Marina. The two unidentified employees said that because of corporate rules they were not allowed to tell me their name, nor how many machines they were going to wrap up. Photo by Bob Sofaly

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