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South Carolina residents assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ian


Ian is no longer a hurricane. The storm weakened after it roared ashore yesterday again, this time in South Carolina. The damage there appears to be less dire than in Florida. But it did whip up massive waves that caused flooding and wiped out power for more than 200,000 people. South Carolina Public Radio reporter Victoria Hansen joins us from Charleston.

Victoria, thanks so much for being with us.

VICTORIA HANSEN, BYLINE: Hey. Thanks for having me.

SIMON: And what do you see and know today?

HANSEN: Well, the good news is fewer than 100,000 people are now without power this morning, including myself. There is plenty of cleanup to be done - lots of debris, downed trees. But, you know, the situation is far better now than it was this time yesterday, when we were pounded by intense rain and wind so strong they sent tree branches smacking against the windows. At one point, I had some of the unripe oranges from my orange tree that were hitting the windows and doors, as well.

SIMON: And what's it like in the beautiful city of Charleston where you are?

HANSEN: Well, you know, downtown, the city saw a lot of rain - 8 inches along the coast. Fortunately, though, the storm surge wasn't as high as initially feared since it happened at a really bad time, which is high tide. You know, even on sunny days, we flood when there's a high tide. But dozens of roads did close because of the flooding. And today, they are finally reopening as those flood waters recede. All in all, though, we got pretty lucky in this historic city because we did not take the direct hit.

SIMON: It did hit Georgetown, about an hour north of you. And at that point, I guess it was a Category 1 hurricane, which still means 85 mile per hour winds. What about Georgetown?

HANSEN: Yeah. It came ashore pretty strong there - as you mentioned, the 85 mile per hour winds. It happened about 2 o'clock in the afternoon - again, dealing with that high tide. The riverfront town of Georgetown was underwater along much of its historic district. We're talking businesses. Shops had been sandbagged. But the streets were just completely flooded. But it was a bit farther north. The pure power of the ocean took its aim, with large swells ripping apart several fishing piers and resort towns, like Pawleys Island and in Myrtle Beach. Several people did have to be rescued as those ocean waves washed over the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach. And some of the water even made its way up to some of the hotel doors.

SIMON: Storm's now moved out of the state into North Carolina and Virginia. What do we know about the forecast there?

HANSEN: Yeah. Both states right now are seeing flooding and power outages. In fact, at one point, I saw that North Carolina had several hundred thousand people without power. But, you know, fortunately, Ian is now a much, much weaker storm.

SIMON: Well, thanks very much. South Carolina Public Radio's Victoria Hansen in Charleston.

Victoria, our best to you and all of our colleagues there at public radio stations all throughout the Carolinas who are helping our national audience follow what's going on and, of course, our stations in Florida. Thanks very much.

HANSEN: All right. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Victoria Hansen is our Lowcountry connection covering the Charleston community, a city she knows well. She grew up in newspaper newsrooms and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than 20 years. Her first reporting job brought her to Charleston where she covered local and national stories like the Susan Smith murder trial and the arrival of the Citadel’s first female cadet.