Beaufort County was lucky during Hurricane Dorian. When the storm washed ashore in South Carolina on Sept. 5, the National Weather Service recorded wind speeds on a buoy just 6 miles off the coast of Fripp Island topping at 92 mph — higher than what Beaufort County saw during Hurricane Matthew. On land, the highest wind recorded in the county was 67 mph on Sept. 5 at Hilton Head Island Airport, according to the National Weather Service. Overall, the county saw minor structural damage and 22,000 residents lost power, mostly north of the Broad River.
Beaufort County Public Works crews cleared storm debris from roads, while law enforcement, EMS, and fire officials answered 7,612 calls for service Sept. 5-6, the peak hours of the storm. Emergency officials responded to 88 calls for downed trees across the county, many blocking roads. No injuries were reported. Most businesses across Beaufort County closed for two to four days during the mandatory evacuation order, causing loss of revenue and lost wages. To combat the drop in tourists, the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce received $175,000 — for the second year in a row — from the Town of Hilton Head Island for a post-hurricane marketing plan. It will be spent on social media, traditional advertising, public relations and Google key words to let the public know that Hilton Head and Bluffton weren’t damaged by the storm, chamber officials said.