2016: A Lowcountry year in review

Updated: Dec. 31, 2016 at 8:16 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With big trials, achievements, severe weather and the deaths of area icons, the Lowcountry saw many changes, highs and lows in 2016.

Here's a review of some of the area's biggest stories this year, in order of occurrence:

Best-selling author, Citadel graduate and Beaufort resident Pat Conroy passed away at age 70 in March, one month after announcing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Several Lowcountry athletes competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.

Burke High School graduate Raven Saunders finished 5th in women's shot put. Fort Dorchester High grad Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Summerville High grad Carvin Nkanata both experienced their track and field dreams just minutes apart.

All lanes on I-26 pointed away from South Carolina's coast as residents prepared for Hurricane Matthew in October.

The category 1 hurricane made landfall southeast of McClellanville. Matthew had knocked out power for more than 210,000 South Carolinians by early that morning, utility companies reported.

Residents reported flooded roads in North Charleston and uprooted trees in Summerville and Goose Creek. The storm was declared a major disaster, with FEMA giving out millions in federal aid.

Donald Trump became president-elect in November, winning 57 percent of the Nation's electoral votes and 55 percent of votes in South Carolina.

Also in November, a Lowcountry icon known for peanuts and his energetic, friendly personality has passed away.

After a more-than-five-week trial, a jury in the case of the former North Charleston police officer charged with a black motorist's shooting death told a judge they would be unable to make a decision in December, forcing a mistrial to be declared.

In December, State Infrastructure Board members voted unanimously to rescind a May 27 vote to kill the I-526 extension project, extending the deadline for Charleston County to find the $300 million still needed to get the job done. The 8-mile highway extension would go from the Savannah Highway terminus to the James Island Connector.

Also in December, 21-year-old Dylann Roof was found guilty on all 33 federal charges in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME in Charleston. The sentencing phase of the trial will begin the first week of January, 2017.

"It is my hope that the survivors, the families & the people of South Carolina can find some peace in the fact that justice has been served," Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement following the verdict.

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