Darlington County breezes through hurricane

By Bobby Bryant, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Darlington County hunkered down last week for an assault by Hurricane Dorian, but the area mostly just got a steady rain and moderate winds.

Molly Odom

“We were very fortunate,” said Molly Odom, emergency management coordinator for the county. “It’s much better than expected.”

“The rain has been less than they forecast,” Odom said last Thursday as the county began moving out of the peak danger zone from the storm. “We’re experiencing significantly less impact than what was forecast.”

Forecasts had called for up to 4 inches of rain in the county and wind gusts of up to 40 mph. According to local media reports, the Darlington area got 2.3 inches of rain; the Florence area, 2.8 inches.

By midday Thursday, Odom said, there had been no reports of damage in the county.

Dorian raked the South Carolina coast Sept. 5 as a Category 3 storm, leading to floods in Charleston and reports of tornadoes elsewhere. As bands of rain and wind pushed inland, the S.C. Emergency Management Division reported more than 200,000 power outages statewide.

Duke Energy alone had predicted 700,000 outages in the two Carolinas because of the hurricane; Duke said it was bringing in extra help from 23 states and Canada. But in Darlington County, only 72 outages had been reported by both Duke and the Pee Dee Electric Cooperative by 10 a.m. Thursday. By midday, outages in the county were down to 34.

Dorian meant a shutdown for city and county government in Darlington County as well as local public schools. All were closed last Thursday. Some businesses shut down as well.

The Hartsville Police Department shut down its administrative offices last Thursday because of hurricane worries, but the department said on Facebook: “We have extra officers on duty to deal with potential problems. A lot of places are closed or are closing early for the safety of the employees.”

A year ago, Hurricane Florence devastated much of the Pee Dee with flooding; that storm did at least $500,000 damage in Darlington County.

Author: Rachel Howell

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