Once Or Twice In A Lifetime 

Significant snowstorms on Sullivan’s Island occur only a handful of times a century. Island resident Jason Ogden took to the skies to capture the impact of Winter Storm Grayson on this special landscape.


It started on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, a wintry mix of rain and ice began to crystallize into actual snowflakes. Within 24 hours approximately 5 inches of the white stuff had settled on the South Carolina coastline, the largest snowfall in 28 years.


Some island residents will recall the last significant snow; December 22, 1989, almost three months to the day after the Category 5 wrath of Hurricane Hugo hit Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s, destroying the islands’ way of life as we knew it. That year a white Christmas was Mother Nature’s gift following her earlier destruction. Eight inches of snow blanketed Charleston, temporarily obscuring the devastation that lay beneath.


This winter’s storm carried eerie similarities, occuring as it did mere months after a Category 5 hurricane threatened our islands. Thankfully, Hurricane Irma had weakened to a Category 3 before any impact reached South Carolina’s shores, on September 11, 2017. But Winter Storm Grayson, as it became known, followed in her path, delivering one of the most unusual weather events in many islanders’ lifetimes.


 “My favorite part was watching my teens and young adults morph into delighted children,” said Judy Drew Fairchild, a Dewees Island resident. For the younger generation, this was the first significant hometown snowfall in their lifetime, and they took full advantage of it. With the frigid temperatures that followed, the snow hung around for much longer than anticipated, providing ample time for snowman making, snow surfing and plenty of sledding down the islands’ manmade hills, courtesy of Sullivan’s Island’s Mound and Isle of Palms’ golf courses. It certainly was a January to remember.


By Jennifer Tuohy