For Charleston's barrier islands, Thursday brought a sense of relief as impacts from Hurricane Dorian were not as severe as expected.

Winds picked up, knocking down tree branches and cutting power for some residents during the morning and early afternoon hours. Residents and officials hunkered down as Dorian churned off the coast, spewing rain and high winds.

By mid-afternoon, as the worst of the hurricane passed offshore, the National Weather Service recorded a 63 mph gust on Isle of Palms, a 66 mph gust at Sullivan's Island and a 67 mph gust at Folly Beach. A sensor at Fort Sumter recorded an 80 mph gust. 

On Isle of Palms, where beaches eroded significantly in the days leading up to the storm, city officials noted little impact during a preliminary damage assessment. 

City Administrator Desiree Fragoso said conditions were still windy by mid-afternoon, but that it looked like the worst of the storm had passed. 

Officials found one downed power line and about five or six other lines dangling, Fragoso said. There were some downed trees and flooding in low-lying areas, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

A gutter at one home was damaged by a falling tree but no other impact to structures was reported, she said. 

Earlier on Thursday, Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett posted photographs of island roads flooding. 

The island’s Police Department also posted on Instagram a photo of a sailboat that had drifted up against the Isle of Palms connector.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 

There is a sailboat that has drifted up against the IOP Connector. #dorian #hurricanedorian #iop ^SB

A post shared by Isle of Palms PD (@isleofpalmspd) on Sep 5, 2019 at 4:45am PDT

Sullivan’s Island Administrator Andy Benke said no damage to structures or infrastructure was reported as of Thursday afternoon.

Dorian dropped enough rain to cause flooding in low-lying areas, Benke said. Trees and branches were knocked down around the island but no other major impacts were noted on Thursday. 

Town officials planned to venture out during low tide to assess beach erosion but, overall, they're thankful the storm wasn't worse, he said. 

Hurricane Wire is a pop-up newsletter during hurricane season that delivers anyone who lives on the East Coast all the information they need to know as storms brew in the Atlantic and beyond.


"It was touch and go," Benke said. "Landfall in South Carolina was never off the table. It was always something to be vigilant about ... until we got the final word this morning that it was making the eastward turn. We were pretty much on the edge of our seats waiting."

Roger Rutledge, a Folly Beach resident of eight years, said the rain was coming down and the wind was "still kicking" as of late Thursday morning but conditions were beginning to calm down by the afternoon. 

Rutledge was traveling around the island to check on properties belonging to his friends.

Ocean conditions were rough, but there was not too much destruction on the island, he said. 

In videos posted to social media, Rutledge captured video of downed trees and damaged roofs. Major storm surge and flooding that was forecast for Thursday never materialized.

"High tide, thank goodness, is not rolling up too bad," he said. "I think most of the hurricane has passed. The ocean's not tearing up the beach too badly." 

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

David Slade is a senior Post and Courier reporter. His work has been honored nationally by Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Scripps foundation and others. Reach him at 843-937-5552 or dslade@postandcourier.com