The mayor of Charleston, S.C., John Tecklenburg, said Thursday that the impact of Hurricane Dorian was “significant,” but that “the impacts from flooding were not as a significant as we thought they would be.”
Speaking with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on “Your World,” Mayor Tecklenburg said: “We had a little more wind than expected, but we had less water than we expected and that was a good thing. Flooding was our No. 1 concern.”
Charleston sits on a peninsula that is prone to flooding even from ordinary storms.
On Thursday, Hurricane Dorian started to make its way toward the Carolinas, bringing tropical storm conditions along the South Carolina coast and flooding in Charleston while the threat of tornadoes loomed in North Carolina.
Flooding was reported in Charleston, S.C. early Thursday as Hurricane Dorian neared the area. (Fox News)
Dorian decreased in force to a Category 2 storm as it swirled in the Atlantic Ocean. It had previously hit the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane before making a northward turn up the East Coast.
South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, issued a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties, which went into effect at noon on Monday.
On Thursday afternoon, the governor’s office announced that the evacuation order had been lifted for three counties but remained in effect for five counties, including in Charleston.
Even though Tecklenburg acknowledged Thursday that the impact wasn’t as bad as had been anticipated, he told Cavuto: “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
“Governor McMaster was absolutely right in what he did,” Tecklenburg said, responding to some backlash from people who did not agree with the governor’s evacuation order.
Tecklenburg went on to say: “He ordered everyone to leave. Probably about half the folks left, the others hunkered down and were safe indoors and were pretty respectful to stay off the streets as we asked them, so I haven’t had a single report of anyone being injured in my city, which I feel great about.”
Although flooding and wind in Charleston weren’t nearly as bad as feared, Dorian toppled about 150 trees, swamped roads and brought down power lines, officials said.
Near Charleston, part of the metal roof of a James Island church blew off.
Debris blankets the landscape in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbor, Abaco, Bahamas, Thursday, The storm’s devastation has come into sharper focus as the death toll climbed to 20 and many people emerged from shelters to check on their homes. (AP Photo/Michael Weissenstein)
Dorian apparently spun off at least one tornado in North Myrtle Beach, damaging several homes. North Myrtle Beach is about two hours from Charleston.
Another twister touched down in the beach town of Emerald Isle, N.C., mangling and overturning several trailer homes. No injuries have been reported so far.
Fox News Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.