Weather News

‘Rude awakening’: Tree crashes on Bluffton home during Hurricane Dorian

Stacey Sacha didn’t evacuate Bluffton for Hurricane Dorian.

She didn’t leave for Matthew, either.

Or Irma.

Or Florence.

“I think really the last hurricane I evacuated for was Hugo (in 1989), when I was a little girl,” she said Thursday morning.

As Hurricane Dorian’s strong wind gusts and rain reached Beaufort County on Wednesday, Sacha hunkered down in her Heritage Lakes home with her husband and two sons.

They fell asleep listening to the pitter-patter of rain trickling on the roof.

Then, around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, a boom shook the house.

Sacha’s 15-year-old came running out of his room, panicked. The 12-year-old down the hall continued to sleep.

The elder boy had awakened to a tree branch poking through his bedroom ceiling.

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

“We were all sleeping,” Sacha said. “It was a rude awakening.”

The family went outside to assess the damage, but it was too dark to see anything. The rain was pouring down, and the wind rushed by.

They retreated inside to wait for daylight.

Around 5:30 a.m. another crash scared the family awake.

“I thought the tree was coming through the house,” Sacha said.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Instead, the shelves hanging on the wall punctured by the tree earlier crashed to the floor.

Sacha enjoyed a fleeting feeling of relief, then continued to wait for daylight.

Once the sun finally started to shine through the clouds, the family ventured outside.

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

The top half of a tree nearby had fallen on the roof.

Sacha looked around.

Besides some small branches and debris on the road, the rest of the neighborhood appeared unscathed.

The same is true for the rest of Bluffton, with the Bluffton Fire Township District responding to less than a handful of storm-related calls from all of Wednesday into Thursday morning.

She doesn’t regret braving the storm, though.

“I guess you can say we were kind of happy that we were home, because now we’re taking on water,” she said. She’s begun making calls — insurance was at the top of the list — to see what can be done.

Sacha is hoping Dorian leaves faster than it came because “it took its sweet time getting here.”

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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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