Hilton Head Island residents breathe sigh of relief

Hilton Head Island residents breathe sigh of relief

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Hilton Head Island got the rain and the wind we all expected, but overall, there isn’t much to speak of in terms of Dorian’s aftermath.

Even one man with a tree in his living room is feeling fortunate.

“The pool and the back look like a botanical garden, so that’ll have to be cleaned up,” said Derek DiRocco.

He was able to laugh about it, but early Thursday morning was no joke.

“The glass from the window just flew past me, all the way to the other side of the house. It was like a missile coming through,” he said.

DiRocco and his daughter were riding out the storm in their Indigo Run home, ready for the worst.

“I figured I better put my work clothes on, because who knows what’s going to happen,” he said.

Then, Dorian came busting through.

“It sounded like an explosion. Just came right through the window, right through the roof. We were running around like a couple of scared cats,” he said.

Frightened, but unharmed, because of that, DiRocco knows it could have been much worse. That’s a common sentiment on the island. Fire Rescue officials say they haven’t seen any major impact hours after Dorian.

“We were very fortunate. We haven’t had a lot of damage reports. We have less than a dozen reports of damage to structures so far.”

Most of the cleanup Thursday has been for downed trees. Emergency Manager Tom Dunn says they’ve responded to more than 80 of those calls.

“We’re very pleased with how the storm impacted us, comparatively to what it could’ve been, and what we expected it to be a few days ago.”

Even with his own long cleanup process just beginning, DiRocco is also feeling pretty lucky. He says it’s all about keeping it in perspective.

“This is where we live and this is what we chose. Quite frankly, I would take the trade off any day.”

DiRocco tells WTOC he’s helped several of his neighbors and friends with damage to their homes in past storms. Now, he’s just working to clean up his own.

WTOC spoke with another family who says after the damage the beach received in past storms, seeming it mostly unharmed Thursday was a relief.

“I remember coming out the morning after Matthew and it was just like, ‘you got hit,' Cathi Richard said. “It was just devastating, but look at this. This is great. We’re very very fortunate.”

“People could come in starting this weekend and it’ll be business as usual for all these people. It’s not like they had to shut down," Walt Richard said.

Hilton Head Fire Rescue says they’ll continue damage assessment throughout the day Thursday, and will have a better idea Friday morning. That said, with what they were expecting just a few days ago, the island is very happy.

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