Hurricane Ian made landfall in South Carolina at 2:05 p.m. ET Friday near the city of Georgetown on Winyah Bay — marking the official start of the storm’s second major assault on the U.S. mainland. Some damage was immediately visible, with at least two piers collapsing into the sea. The magnitude of the encroaching ocean has already made history, with all-time record-breaking flooding as far away as coastal North Carolina.
In terms of structures threatened by storm surge, Pawley’s Island, a relatively dense coastal community, largely bore the brunt of Ian’s attack during the first few hours.
As the storm’s toll began to be felt locally, it was possible to witness the power of Hurricane Ian online. Several users posted photos and video of the storm surge and flooding, sharing documentation of the ongoing damage from this days-long disaster for the benefit of the public — whether they were watching for safety’s sake or out of sheer curiosity. And remember: At this phase in a news story, social media documents like these are always in need of confirmation.
Videos purportedly show devastation from Hurricane Ian in Pawley’s Island
The police in Pawley’s Island were evidently some of the only residents out in the storm, documenting the weather’s impact. Their tweets appeared to show shockingly high storm surge.
That same Twitter account also documented the apparent collapse of the community’s pier.
A South Carolina resident named Jerry Lieberman took video of what used to be a beach, after it was completely swallowed by the flood, if the video is to be believed.
Lieberman also spotted what looked like a fire elsewhere on Pawley’s Island.
Apparent video from Myrtle Beach shows Hurricane Ian’s wind damage
North Carolina meteorologist Kaitlin Wright posted footage of what appeared to be a roof being damaged by Ian’s powerful winds, as documented by a videographer named Kelsey Lyons.
At Murrells Inlet, just south of Myrtle Beach, pictures by photographer Norma Coote appeared to document a dangerous flood several feet high.
Climate change is impacting hurricanes. Some of these impacts are clear, particularly more serious rainfall and historic flooding, along with higher storm surges. Other impacts, like how the relentless warming oceans are affecting how strong these storms grow, are an intensive and ongoing area of research.