Weather News

What does Bluffton look like Thursday after Hurricane Dorian?

Despite the powerful winds and rain Hurricane Dorian brought to Beaufort County Wednesday night into Thursday morning, Bluffton remained relatively unscathed.

The storm has moved north, and Bluffton Township Fire District is hopeful.

“We’re feeling optimistic that we have survived the ugliest of the storm and his impact and that we’ll be back to normal in no time at all,” Capt. Lee Levesque said Thursday morning after riding around different parts of Bluffton to assess damage and flooding.

As of 2:30 p.m., no major damage or flooding was reported in Bluffton, and Levesque said he believes the town is “in the clear.”

Bluffton Fire had no storm-related calls between midnight and 7 a.m., when firefighters sat down to eat breakfast together. Even then, only two calls came in: One for a tree blocking the road on New Riverside and another for a limb on Calhoun Street that was quickly moved out of the way.

Nearly all of the department’s roughly 150 members were called in Wednesday morning to work 12-hour shifts during the storm. A third of them were sent home at 8 a.m. Thursday, and another third went home around noon.

A sigh of relief followed by a small cheer filled the room when firefighters heard that news, because it meant things were OK and that they’d be able to return to a normal routine.

Heritage Lakes

A tree fell on top of a Heritage Lakes home Thursday morning and punctured the ceiling.

A tree branch punctured a roof of a Heritage Lakes home in Bluffton on Thursday morning. Stacey Sacha Submitted

A tree fell on top of a home in the Heritage Lakes neighborhood in Bluffton on Thursday during Hurricane Dorian. Stacey Sacha Submitted

A tree fell on top of a home in the Heritage Lakes neighborhood in Bluffton on Thursday during Hurricane Dorian. Stacey Sacha Submitted

A tree fell on top of a home in the Heritage Lakes neighborhood in Bluffton on Thursday during Hurricane Dorian. Stacey Sacha Submitted

Alljoy Boat Landing

Alljoy had major flooding after Hurricane Matthew, so Bluffton Fire was watching it closely throughout the storm. On Thursday morning, there were no signs of flooding.

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Kacen Bayless

Bluffton Oyster Factory Park

A light drizzle fell over Bluffton Oyster Factory Park and Old Town Bluffton a little after 9 a.m. Thursday. The water level remained below the dock, and there were no real signs of flooding from overnight rains. Pine needles and leaves were scattered across the streets.

Kacen Bayless

Hampton Lake

Hampton Lake neighborhood was clear except one small tree that blocked a single lane. It was quickly removed. Mostly just pine needles and small twigs lined the roads. Several homes were still boarded up Thursday morning.

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A tree blocking a lane in the Hampton Lake neighborhood in Bluffton. It was cleared shortly after being discovered Thursday morning during Hurricane Dorian. Lana Ferguson

The Farm at Buckwalter

Some folks had sandbags lining their garage doors. Parts of this neighborhood experienced bad flooding after Hurricane Matthew, but that did not appear to be the case Thursday morning.

The Farm.JPG
Lana Ferguson

Buckwalter Place

While driving around Wednesday afternoon as winds were beginning to pick up, Levesque pointed to the American flag flying behind the Bluewater gas station on Buckwalter Place. Every time he passes, he checks to see if it’s still flying.

It’s one of many landmarks he uses as an indicator for how things are going.

Thursday morning, the flag was whipping in the wind but still in one piece — a sign that the worst of Hurricane Dorian did not hit Bluffton.

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Kacen Bayless
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Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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A reporter for The Island Packet covering local government and development, Kacen Bayless is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In the past, he’s worked for St. Louis Magazine, the Columbia Missourian, KBIA and the Columbia Business Times. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree with an emphasis in Investigative Reporting from the University of Missouri in 2019.