Irma's impact on Lowcountry remembered as active hurricane season ends Thursday

Irma's impact on Lowcountry remembered as active hurricane season ends Thursday
Source: National Hurricane Center
Source: National Hurricane Center

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The 2017 hurricane season comes to a merciful end on Thursday and the Lowcountry saw its fair share of activity.

It will go down as the 5th most active hurricane season since records began in 1851 and the most active since 2012.

Following on the heels of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the big storm for the Lowcountry was Hurricane Irma. It made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane and on Marco Island, Florida as a Category 3 storm.

The hurricane moved northward through Florida into Georgia bringing significant impacts to the Lowcountry as it began to weaken.

Early that week, Governor McMaster contemplated issuing evacuation orders for the entire South Carolina coast but as the forecast track shifted to the west, evacuation orders were revised and only issued for the lower South Carolina coastline from Edisto Beach southward. Charleston mayor John Tecklenberg warned citizens of the storm's power as well.

Despite no evacuation orders being put into action, all area school districts did close as the storm neared.

The biggest impacts of this storm came in the form of significant storm surge, torrential rain, gusty winds and tornadoes.

Locally, Irma produced wind gusts widespread 40 - 60 mph with the strongest gust of 72 mph at Folly Beach. Four tornadoes made landfall in the Charleston area on September 11th.

An EF-0 touched down in Mount Pleasant, an EF-0 near the Charleston International Airport, an EF-0 on James Island and an EF-1 on Johns Island. Thankfully, there were no injuries or fatality form any of the tornadoes.

The most significant damage that occurred in the Lowcountry was due to a significant inundation of water due to storm surge.

The storm surge measured at 9.92 feet in the Charleston Harbor. That's the 3rd highest level ever recorded. Significant beach erosion occurred at most area beaches and significant damage occurred to personal property due to the inundation of saltwater flooding into homes and damage to docks.

Although, several other storms(like Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Lee) worried the area at times as the moved through the Atlantic Ocean, Irma was the main storm that we had to deal with this year.

Flooding was an issue from Georgetown to Ladson and into downtown Charleston. Power outages in the area were also prevalent in the days following the storm.

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