Counting Blessings and Coming Home

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We have had a chance to get back to the island for a quick look, and we are so grateful for the fact that Hurricane Matthew came in at low tide. Damage on Dewees appears to be slight compared to some of our neighbors to both the north and the south.  For a hurricane that made its eventual US landfall just north of us (South of McClellanville,) Dewees seems to have escaped much of the damage we see on the news from not so far away.

We have so much to be thankful for:

  • For the clear decision-making of Governor Haley who announced on Tuesday that evacuations would begin, school would be canceled, and I26 lanes would be managed so that all would exit the city, making travel easier.
  • For a solid Dewees Hurricane Mitigation plan that was in place and activated almost immediately after her announcement, which involved gradually decreasing ferry service and moving the ferries to safe ground and securing buildings and infrastructure on the island.
  • For the well executed engineering design of the homesites and public spaces on the island, which has demonstrated twice this year that our pervious surfaces and drainage channels move water away from homes, homesites, and roads.
  • For the dedication of staff who care for our island, its residents and owners, and everyday assets: ferries, buildings, boats, vehicles, etc. which make our living on this lovely barrier island more manageable.
  • For the way we, as neighbors, take care of each other.  From sharing places to stay, providing meals and comfort, to touching base with one another, to moving golf carts and checking on things, to sending funny texts and messages as we tried not to worry watching a scary storm move our way. We are family.

The evacuation order for coastal South Carolina expired today, and then we got notification that we could come to the island and check things out.  We arrived on IOP around 5:00 and were allowed through the checkpoint.

The parking lot has some standing water at the moment, and we weren’t exactly sure how high the water got.

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img_1201 Racing the waning daylight, we were thrilled to arrive along the waterway, checking out some boarded homes and damaged docks.

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img_1217and very relieved to see how well the island fared during the storm.

img_1240The main dock had obviously seen some water: some flotsam had accrued in the corners of the main dock.  The dock was intact, though, and looked strong and unchanged.

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The causeway was almost empty, with the shuttles gone and only the pick-up waiting at the dock.  The shuttle stations appear to have done well, though the curbs in front of them have floated away.

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Near the Landings building, we found a small issue with a gutter, but the hurricane shutters installed by the staff were still firmly in place:

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Again, damages are minimal.

Along Old House Lane, it’s clear that the road was under water some of the time, and there are places where a small channel was carved as water made its way to the impoundment.

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The road to Chapel pond shows some water intrusion.img_1295

Homes seem to have slight screen damage, and a tree is down here and there, but the overall feeling is that there is cleanup and road maintenance required, but structures appear largely fine.

At our home, several screens were flapping in the wind, we found a warped floor section that hints at water intrusion we haven’t found yet, and the bridge in the driveway has floated off its foundation. Our floorboards under the house are dry.

The beach at Ancient Dunes shows a very high tide and smoother dunes, but it’s vastly different from the scene that greeted us after the Irene storm surge.  The boneyard trees which serve as landmarks for that beach access path have lost limbs, but parts of them are still standing.

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We were running out of daylight, so we headed back to the dock (and Mount Pleasant) and will go back in the morning. A pair of black skimmers sliced the water in the waning light, and we were treated to a sunset over the waterway. More tomorrow.

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