‘Overall, it could’ve been a lot worse’
FLORENCE, S.C. – Many Florence residents breathed a sigh of relief following what was considered minor damage and flooding from Hurricane Florence through the weekend compared to what was previously expected.
While several areas of Florence County experienced flooding and damage due to winds, the vast majority of the city and county will get back to a normal routine this week following the storm.
Both city and county offices are expecting to reopen today, as well as many businesses and some schools. The ones that don’t open today will be eyeing a normal schedule later this week.
Dotty DeWitt, a Florence resident, said she had her power restored Saturday after losing it Friday evening. While it was an inconvenience, DeWitt said she was thankful that the more dangerous parts of the storm stayed away from Florence.
“It was amazing because we were originally expecting a Category 3 or 4 to hit landfall and to move toward us,” DeWitt said. “I know many people have been praying, and it was a blessing for it to only hit land at a Category 1. I know that a lot of people still suffered, especially up in the coast and in North Carolina, but it was a blessing from the Lord.”
DeWitt said she saw a few branches down, but nothing major in damage.
“We had one night without power, but that was OK,” DeWitt said. “Overall, it could’ve been a lot worse, and we were blessed to only have gotten hit a little bit.”
Claire Brown, a Francis Marion University student, said the biggest worry for her family was taking care of their five dogs and cat.
“I was worried when they compared it to Hugo initially, but now it was more of a rainstorm here than anything,” Brown said. “We didn’t really have anything bad happen during the storm. It was mainly just taking care of the dogs and waiting it out.”
Lester McCoy said that he and his family spent time playing cards and fixing puzzles, even though they never lost power.
“The power flickered a few times, but that was it,” McCoy said. “We had me, my wife, our son and his family. We just spent time together playing games. Our internet did go out, but that was it. We were very fortunate to not have as much damage as expected.”
Cainon Johnson said his family chose to stay indoors and keep an eye on the news during the storm.
“I didn’t lose power, but a few areas near me did,” Johnson said. “Lots of debris in the roads, a tree or two down, but not near as bad as expected.”
Johnson said the amount of rainfall through the weekend could be a small concern going forward.
“The worst around me would be the constant rainfall,” Johnson said. “Although flooding wasn’t terribly bad, we still got a lot of rain in a short period of time.”
According to the Weather Channel, more rain is expected through today, with scattered showers called for on Tuesday. That additional rainfall could lead to downed trees and flooding on roads, but Florence escaped relatively intact compared to neighboring counties, including Marion and Dillon.