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