Charleston mayor: ‘We’ve got some cleanup to do,’ but things went better than expected during Dorian

VIDEO: Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg addresses Dorian cleanup

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said more than 500 city employees are engaged in recovery activities Friday.

“We're going to try to go ahead and get our normal weekend activities going this weekend as well, to support our hospitality industry and our regular business,” he said at a news conference Monday. “So full city offices will be open for business record time on Monday morning all our permitting and other functions.”

Tecklenburg described what he saw during a helicopter tour of the Charleston area Friday morning in a Coast Guard chopper.

“There are some down trees that we spotted, of course, and they've been reported to the city as well,” he said. “There were a number of boats we saw that were abandoned and washed up in various locations. And [the Coast Guard] said they'd be going back to pinpoint the locations of all of those.”

About 50 Charleston streets remained closed because of flooding, downed trees, power lines or power outages and crews were working on clearing them. He said a big priority is getting traffic signals working and Charleston called for assistance from the cities of Columbia and Greenville to get stoplights working as quickly as possible.

“We’ve got some cleanup to do,” he said. “We’ve got some trees to take care of. We’ve got some stoplights to fix, you know, we got debris to pick up and collect. But these are all things that with just a little time and effort and collaboration, which we will have, will happen.

“Here's the bottom line of it all, if I may say, is that not a single report of injury, or a loss of life from what was a major hurricane, really,” he said. “So It's just remarkable from a human point of view, the success of this preparation and the cooperation of our citizens.”

Regular garbage routes will resume Monday, he said, and crews were working to pick up trash and debris with city contractors Republic and Carolina Waste.

Tecklenburg said the Cross Creek Basin, where flooding was feared ahead of Dorian, fared well.

“I was just over overhead looking down from a drainage point of view,” he said. “It seemed to be flowing well. There weren't there wasn't any flooding reported.”

Tecklenburg praised the city’s flood mitigation plan, including the placement of pump stations placed strategically.

“But I must say that it was the grace of God as well, that we were not impacted more heavily by the storm,” he said. “I was so thankful that the tide did not rise to the level that had been predicted.”

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