Golden Isles residents who had not yet evacuated awoke Wednesday to grey skies and inconsistent rains. The long-awaited Hurricane Dorian was expected to arrive that night or the next morning.
Throughout the day, occasionally heavy winds began scattering some tree limbs and knocking down a sign or two. Some power outages were also reported Wednesday morning.
But by the afternoon, Dorian had not yet brought significantly strong rains or winds to the area. Those who chose to remain at home during the storm, rather than heed the mandatory evacuation in place since Monday, were able to spend the day making final preparations.
“We’re just ready for a little blow,” said Larry Clinton, captain of the Peacemaker boat docked at Mary Ross Park in Brunswick. He and several crew members worked to better secure the boat Wednesday morning. “… We’re putting extra dock lines on and disconnecting everything from shore power.”
The boat had sustained no damage during past hurricanes, and Clinton said the Brunswick Marina’s location farther west helped protect boats docked there.
“It’s hard to take the boat away,” Clinton said. “…. With (Dorian) raking the whole coast, where do you go?”
The skies darkened throughout the day, but at 4 p.m. the F.J. Torras Causeway on St. Simons had yet to be closed. The Musgrove Causeway onto Jekyll Island closed Tuesday night. In parts of Glynn County east of Interstate 95, a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew took effect on Tuesday night.
Traffic was light in Brunswick and on St. Simons on Wednesday, but the area was not deserted. Many who did not evacuate ventured out in the afternoon to view the high tides and assess the storm’s effects so far, while Dorian churned near Jacksonville.
“We’re here just to see,” said Desaree Avery, a Brunswick resident, who stopped by the dock near Marshside Grill to view the waves on the marsh. “I want to go look after the storm. I don’t want to go during the storm.”
Most businesses remained closed on Wednesday. Residents planning to ride out the storm had stocked up on water, food and supplies like flashlights and generators.
“We’re equipped,” said Noreen Ellis, a New York resident who owns a house on St. Simons. “We have batteries, we have this, we have that.”
Ellis and her family were visiting the island for an annual Labor Day gathering, but Hurricane Dorian crashed the party, forcing Ellis and some family members to extend their stay and postpone flights this week out of Savannah.
Ellis recalled watching Hurricane Sandy in 2012 flood her home in Rockaway Island, New York. These kinds of storms, she said, leave those in their path with little control.
“You can prepare as much as you can prepare and everything like that, but Mother Nature and God just sometimes throw you a curveball,” she said.
By Wednesday at noon, though, Ellis was expecting a “glorified tropical storm,” and was sending out thoughts to those in the Bahamas, where historic destruction has been reported.
“We very pleased that it’s been decreasing as it goes,” Ellis said. “As much as we’re nervous on our end, we just can’t help feeling for the tragedies going on in the Bahamas.”
Weather reports throughout the day had Dorian coming closest to coastal Georgia on Wednesday night, finally bringing an end to Glynn County’s anxious waiting.
“I’m not going to be as cavalier to say this is an adventure, but it will be a life experience,” Ellis said.