HILTON HEAD ISLAND, Sc. (WSAV) – As of 9:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, residents living on Beaufort County barrier islands are allowed to go back home.
“Matthew was a lesson in wind, Irma was a lesson in surge,” said Neil Baxley with Beaufort County Emergency Services, after Hurricane Irma, downgraded to a tropical storm by time it reached South Carolina, brought flooding across all five Beaufort County barrier islands.
“The evacuation order was rescinded by the Governor… for Hilton Head Island and Dafuskie, it’s an all clear, but restricted access on US 21, Harbor and Fripp,” said Sheriff PJ Tanner, restricted access meaning any road properties may still have.
About 14,000 remain without power across the county. Fripp Island is without water and sewer utilities until power is back.
“ Harbor’s water will be in good shape,” said Baxley, “Hunting Island remains closed and they’re doing damage assessment out there to try and figure out where we’re at.”
Officials will be surveying damage around the county starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“If you see them out and about in your neighborhoods, that’s what they’re there for. They’re there to check to see what structures and improvements may have been damaged as a result of the storm,” said Deputy County Administrator Josh Gruber.
Convenience centers will also be open at 7:30 a.m. in the morning with two debris recovery centers located at Pinckney Point and Isly Farm.
“If you have large amounts of debris, the disaster recovery centers are gonna probably be the best area for you to go to take those large amounts of debris because we’ve got a lot more space there,” said Gruber.
Jasper County shelters are now closed, with less than 20 remain at battery creek high school, and 43 at Bluffton. Beaufort County schools resume regular hours Wednesday morning and will work around those shelters.
“I can’t say enough about how happy I am along with staff, on how the citizens of Beaufort County treated this event,” said Sheriff Tanner, “They took it serious… and I just want to thank them for their cooperation through a very challenging time.”
The 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew has also been lifted.
The road to Harbor Island was repaired and reopened by 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Any flooding that took place on private properties such as Harbor, Fripp, and even Sea Pines, is left to property associations to discuss with residents.