Blue sky appeared and the sun shone brightly over the Lowcountry on Friday morning—a scene quite opposite from the heavy rain and wind that pummeled the area just 24 hours earlier.
As Hurricane Dorian left behind debris, downed trees and still thousands of power outages across the Tri-county, many schools and businesses remained closed.
But the work to restore communities to their pre-storm state was in full swing on Friday.
According to Dominion Energy, at least 10,000 remained without power on Friday morning in Dorchester County and about 2,000 in Berkeley County.
Dominion officials said they hope to have at least 95 percent of outages restored by 11 a.m. today in Berkeley and by 11 p.m. Saturday in Dorchester County.
Also, several roads had already been reopened and Gov. Henry McMaster lifted evacuation orders for all counties across South Carolina.
One major roadway in Dorchester still closed on Friday was Highway 61; it’s closed for cleanup and utility work between Cooks Crossroads and the Charleston County line.
In downtown Summerville, multiple businesses sustained damages to storefronts. Awnings were disheveled at Wine and Tapas, Prosperity on Main, Cummings Law Firm and the former site of Tip Tap Toe.
Residents were also out in their yards sweeping, mowing, chainsawing and piling up limbs and tree trunks. That included the Elles family on Gum Street, where siblings Austin, 10, and Kendall, 5, helped their parents on Friday pickup sticks and smaller branches littering the property.
According to Misty Elles, a five-year resident of the Summerville home, every storm that’s struck the area has made her fear falling pines trees that tower on the side of her yard. Luckily, they’ve never fallen.
“They’ve always stayed,” Elles said.
But she pointed to weather forecasters as provoking that fear.
“It’s scary because they make it so scary,” Elles said.
She also expressed gratitude for work crews and emergency responders for their dedication keeping residents safe during Dorian and restoring her home’s power shortly after she lost it.
“Thank you to the first responders because they had it up immediately,” Elles said.
Town of Summerville Parks and Recreation crews were also out chopping up fallen trees at Azalea Park.
Residents are urged to report storm damage in both counties. Berkeley County residents can report here ; Dorchester County residents can report here.
Berkeley County said it’s also currently waiving all fees, for county residents only, for utilizing the landfill to dump storm debris.
Reporting will allow staff in each county to determine the extent of damage and report findings to state and federal officials to determine appropriate funding options.
Red Cross tips
The American Red Cross has also provided helpful tips and other safety-related information for residents as they return home and clean up.
After the storm:
- Let friends and family know you’re safe — Register yourself as safe on the Safe and Well website
- If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding .
Caring for yourself, loved ones
- Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips.
- Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Help people who require additional assistance —infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the power company.
- Follow these tips for inspecting your home’s structure and utilities & systems after a hurricane.
- Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and its contents, for insurance purposes.
Cleaning, repairing a home:
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
- Learn more about how to clean up after a hurricane, including the supplies you’ll need, how to deal with contaminated food and water, and how to repair water damage.
- Don’t just repair your home, build in hurricane-resistant features to help protect against future storms:
- Secure double entry doors at the top and bottom.
- Strengthen garage doors to improve wind resistance, particularly double-wide garage doors.
- Select trees that are not as subject to uprooting to replace any damaged ones. A gardening or landscaping professional can give you excellent advice.
- If your home has been significantly damaged and will require rebuilding parts or all of it, consider building a safe room.