Charleston cleans up twice the debris expected from Dorian

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Officials in Charleston have collected twice as much storm debris from Hurricane Dorian as they expected.

The city said it has collected more than 600,000 cubic yards (459,000 cubic meters) of tree branches, vegetation, brush and trash in the aftermath of the storm, which skirted just offshore of South Carolina in early September.

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 created 380,000 cubic yards (290,000 cubic meters) of debris.

"It's due, in part, to Dorian's prolonged winds," Charleston Environmental Service Supervisor Matt Alltop told The Post and Courier of Charleston.

The city is keeping careful track on what is collected, so Charleston can get the proper amount of relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, city spokesman Jack O'Toole said.

FEMA is expected to pay at least 75 percent of the cost to collect and dispose of the debris, O'Toole said.

The city authorized 18 employees who typically have jobs like parking enforcement or clerks to monitor the debris cleanup, officials said.

Even with the additional debris to pick up, Alltop said the city should finish with Dorian clean up in about 30 days. The cleanup for Hurricane Matthew took 90 days.

Dorian was a Category 5 storm when it slowly churned through the Bahamas, but remained just offshore South Carolina before making landfall on the North Carolina Outer banks.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com