PICKENS COUNTY — Given the sheer size and winding path of Hurricane (downgraded to Tropical Storm) Irma, many Upstate residents are counting their blessings.
Downed trees, power outages and school cancellations abounded but all in all, most of Pickens County agreed, it could have been a lot worse.
“There is a giant pecan tree in my neighbor’s yard and half of it is dead. All I could think of all night was ‘Please don’t let it fall,’” said Katie Morris in Easley. “Had it gone down, it would have taken power lines and my roof with it. I feel very lucky this morning, it only lost a few branches.”
Morris attributed the minimal impact of Irma in equal parts: luck and preparedness.
“We really were very fortunate up here, just look at what Florida went through — even Charleston,” she said. “This could have been a real problem but people took the warnings seriously and were ready. You know us Southerners, we love to stock up on our bread and milk.”
A few people in the Liberty area posted pictures of ripped off siding and missing roof shingles on social media websites but, for the most part, Irma’s effect on the county appears to have resulted in more inconvenience than actual emergency.
Heather Cook, who lives in the county just outside Easley’s city limits, said her power went on and off throughout the night but the real problem was a downed phone line.
“It’s not that we don’t have phones, everybody has cell phones today so that’s not a huge issue,” explained Cook. “The problem is the line is blocking the only entrance to an entire subdivision. No one can get in or out.”
Cook said multiple calls for help were placed to various city and county officials and power companies before linemen showed up to the location on Pelzer Highway and Clairmont Court and stated it was an AT&T line — and AT&T’s problem.
“They came out and basically said that because it wasn’t a power line there wasn’t anything they could do,” said Cook. “But, it’s still blocking our neighborhood. My neighbor finally got hold of AT&T only to have them tell her she couldn’t file the report because she wasn’t a customer.”
Finally, enough people called AT&T to get them to flag the incident but residents were told it could still be “one to two business days” before the line was cleared, she said.
“I had to call someone to pick me up for work today and meet them at the end of my street. I literally had to duck under the lines to get out,” said Cook. “I mean, you can’t drive through them.”
She also said a few people had taken to driving through her neighbor’s yard to get to work.
“Yeah, their yard is pretty well torn up,” she said. “It’s a mess.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.