CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hurricane Ian made landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane just after 2:00 p.m. Friday, bringing with it damaging winds and flooding throughout the Lowcountry.
The strong winds began Thursday night, but conditions really began to deteriorate around 9:00 a.m. Friday as some of the hurricane’s worst bands moved ashore. Speeds of 92 miles per hour were reported at Shutes Folly, with nearly 70 miles per hour reported in Charleston.
Hundreds of thousands of people lost power throughout the day as the winds brought down trees and power lines. Despite their best preparation efforts, crews with Dominion Energy and Santee Cooper were forced to stop repair operations as the weather became too severe to safely continue.
According to Dominion Energy, over 110,000 people were without power across the state at the max-outage time around 4:00 p.m., with 90% of the outages reported in the Lowcountry.
Santee Cooper had around 28,000 customers in Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry counties without power as of 3:00 p.m.
Both services said that they were bringing in crews from out of state to supplement and expedite relief efforts.
In addition to high winds, rain picked up quickly and didn’t stop for hours, with over seven inches of rain recorded in places like Charleston and Summerville.
Over 100 roads throughout the Lowcountry were closed at some point Friday due to flooding or downed trees. Charleston Police Department Chief Luther Reynolds said that in his jurisdiction alone, there were over 70 closures.
Police, fire, and EMS units across the Lowcountry temporarily suspended operations at the height of the storm, saying it was too dangerous to put their crews at risk.
As the skies began to clear in the early evening, residents began assessing damage.
Debris and standing water blanketed many areas. While the extent of the damage is still unknown, many people have reported trees down on cars and buildings as well as flooding in homes.
As the scope of the damage becomes more clear, local governments are asking residents to report damage to relevant agencies. Governor Henry McMaster said that President Joe Biden called him Friday morning to promise federal assistance with the recovery effort.