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Hurricane Irma Message #11

By Andy Benke for Island Eye News

Good afternoon Island residents,

If Hurricane Irma forced you evacuated during the past several days – Welcome Home!!!!

All things considered the Town fared well given the conditions dished out by the hurricane. Gusts were reported up to 60 mph. Additionally there was a report of a micro burst yesterday afternoon.  On estimate, almost half of the Island was inundated by storm surge.  The ocean breached the front side on both the east and west ends. 

Likewise, water was driven up on the back beach the entire length of the Island reaching Middle Street in some places. Monday afternoon around the time of high tide the causeway was covered by saltwater.  Many of the tall sand dunes were impacted and damaged by the waves and surge.  Overall it would appear that the Island did not lose power – thank you SCE&G.  A very small number of homes did lose power because of service line issues to their home.  SCE&G has advised only about 12 homes are still without power. First responders and town staff were out yesterday in tropical storm winds securing downed power lines, responding to 9-1-1 calls, removing downed trees and responding to calls for assistance (including two water rescues). Today roads were cleared, additional power lines secured and road barriers put in place to control traffic.  


Information for you to know:

  1. There was little damage to Town property or buildings based on the initial assessment.

  2. The water distribution system is functioning fine and the water is safe for consumption.

  3. The Wastewater Treatment Plant and its collection system is functioning fine.

  4. There was no damage to the fire hydrant system.

  5. Staff is in the process of an Island-wide damage assessment of Town buildings and property, infrastructure, private property and the beach in order to forward the appropriate estimates to FEMA.

  6. The Town is awaiting word on the FEMA funded debris collection effort.  Charleston County Emergency Management Department has placed the debris contractor on standby for collections here. Most all of the contractors have equipment deployed in Texas and now Florida at this time.  Moreover, please recall from previous experience at Hurricane Matthew the collection effort can span four to six weeks.

  7. If you have debris in your yard, please move it to the right-of-way.  It is important to separate organic material, white goods, furniture items and hazardous goods for different collections.  Do not cover the water meter or man holes or block fire hydrants.    

  8. Regular garbage collections are running a day or two behind schedule:

  1. Household garbage will be collected on Wednesday 9-13-17 (not today)

  2. Yard debris will be collected on Thursday 9-14-17 (not tomorrow)

  3. Charleston County Recycle will be collected on Friday 9-15 17 (not tomorrow)

  4. FEMA storm debris collection to be determined and announced

  1. Standing water around the Island could be a combination of salt and rain water.  When driving through the water it is suggested that a slow speed is appropriate to avoid creating wake damage to someone’s home and water damage to your vehicle.

  2. Charleston County Mosquito Abatement has already been on the Island to view the areas of standing water. In the coming days you will notice early morning truck and aircraft applications.

  3. The South Carolina Department of Transportation was on the Island today to inspect the roads, rights of way and stormwater collection system.

  4. South Carolina Electric and Gas Company continues to bring a final few homes back on the grid.  Likewise, SCE&G will be replacing two power poles on the causeway that sustained damage.

  5. Private yard contractors shall not place debris street-side but must remove it when the job is completed.   

  6. The South Carolina Department of Transportation stormwater collection system is flowing well in some areas, very slow in other areas and holding water in some areas.  Additionally, the collection system is tidal dependent.  Finally, the ground has been saturated for some time now causing a very high water table.  It will take some time for the Island to completely dry out.

 Warnings and Precautions:

  1. Never approach a downed powerline – it may be energized.  Call for assistance.

  2. Monitor electrical appliances that could have been submerged. They may short out.

  3. The rip current is still very strong – if you enter the ocean use extreme caution.

  4. A large quantity of debris and flotsam has been found on the beach as well as ocean and waterway.  Use extreme caution when swimming, surfing or boating for hidden objects in the water.

  5. Keep an eye on the tropics – hurricane season is just now peaking.  Hurricane “Wrong- Way Jose” is out there doing circles and could take aim on the southeastern part of the United States.

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