Historic city of Charleston spared worst of Hurricane Ian’s wrath

Storm struck land north of city in South Carolina, sparing the bulk of its majestic homes

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The historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, has been spared the worst of Hurricane Ian’s wrath after the storm swept through the state on Friday.

Ian, which caused historic levels of destruction in Florida earlier this week, came barrelling back onshore as a Category 1 hurricane.

It hit land 100 kilometres north of Charleston in the city of Georgetown.

Initial forecasts had the storm sweeping directly though Charleston, a historic city of 137,000 which is prone to flooding.

At the height of the storm, strong winds slammed into the Georgian and colonial homes off the city’s Battery, downing trees and even an electrical pole but not levelling any structures.

“We got lucky again that the wind came just north of us,” said local resident Bill Hecht. “The way it hit us, it actually pulled the water out of the harbour.”

Mr Hecht came out of his centuries-old home once the wind died down and immediately started clearing debris.

Falling trees after Hurricane Ian tore through Charleston on Friday. AP

Clad in hiking boots and a grey rain coat, he cleared gutters of branches to help make sure the water could drain.

Others ventured outside to walk their dogs and take stock of the damage.

Bob Crutchfield and his wife, who only moved to Charleston a year ago, walked their two spaniels along the edge of the harbour and were “pleasantly surprised” that the city and their home had escaped relatively unscathed.

“The house took quite a battering from the wind and we have lots of limbs down and a lot of debris in the yard,” Mr Crutchfield told The National. “We’ll have to clean up tomorrow but no real damage or flooding.”

The storm caused significant damage north of Charleston in the popular tourist community of Myrtle Beach, destroying several piers in the area.

About 200,000 people are without power in the state as of late Friday afternoon.

Updated: October 01, 2022, 12:16 PM