Florence – examining what went right …

Florence – examining what went right …
September 16 15:42 2018 Print This Article

Now that Tropical Storm Florence has cleared out of the Palmetto State, people can start critiquing the actions taken before and after the storm. As always, there will be some second-guessing. I admit to doing some of that. The best observation we can agree upon is that Florence caused minimal damage in our state, apart from some flooding issues in the Grand Strand. I want to focus on some things that went right:

Superb law enforcement efforts. We all should be proud of the efforts of law enforcement personnel at the state and local levels. The SC Highway Patrol executed the eastbound lane reversal on I-26 from Charleston to Columbia in record time Tuesday. Local law enforcement officers were visible and vigilant from the time the storm became a threat to Governor Henry McMaster’s declaration Saturday ending the coastal evacuation order. There were no reports of looting in the Charleston area. There was a report on social media of a Charleston police officer paying someone’s grocery bill when the man’s credit card wouldn’t work. Fox Business reporter Kristina Partsinevelos documented on Twitter how Myrtle Beach police changed a man’s flat tire.

Great communications. There were numerous press conferences from the Lowcountry Emergency Operations Center in North Charleston, which were covered live on television and radio. The City of Charleston provided frequent e-mail and social media updates and had its 843-724-7311 hotline number activated around the clock. The Facebook page West Ashley United allowed followers to stay connected with each other and provide information. People were informed about which businesses were open and which gas stations still had fuel.

Charleston Public Works provided unparalleled service. While I can’t speak for other local governments, I know the the City of Charleston and the St. Andrews Public Service District provided great customer service every step of the way. Both agencies conducted garbage disposal after Tuesday’s coastal evacuation order. Charleston provided self-serve sandbag service at three locations over a four-day period. Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin informed me that public works crews were cleaning out ditches around the clock to ensure that the drainage system would operate properly. I am not aware of any local flooding caused by Florence.

Neighbors helped neighbors.  Through neighborhood Facebook pages, neighbors were keeping each other informed of current developments. When we entertained thoughts of evacuating to St. Augustine (before the track became less threatening on Thursday morning), our neighbors who were committed to staying agreed to look after our two cats, who don’t travel well.

Well done, Lowcountry! We will likely have plenty of storms in our future, and we keep learning of ways to get better prepared for the next one. Florence was largely well-executed, and I am confident that we can learn lessons in its aftermath.