In this Sept. 11, 2018 photo, John Brown stands behind a fence for his cows outside his home on St. Helena Island, S.C. Brown and other residents of the island's Gullah community of slave descendants are watching Hurricane Florence as it approaches the Carolinas. St. Helena's Gullah residents have a long history of riding out storms, including a hurricane that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

South Carolina slave descendants used to riding out storms

September 12, 2018 - 9:06 am

ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A tight-knit community of slave descendants on the South Carolina coast is used to riding out big storms — from one that killed an estimated 2,000 people in 1893 to Tropical Storm Irma last year.

Gullah residents of St. Helena Island near the South Carolina-Georgia line are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Florence. The Category 4 storm is expected to hit the Carolinas this weekend.

Local barber Josh Dais says island residents trying to decide whether to flee often listen to elder relatives as much as meteorologists. He says: "If Mama and Grandma are going, then a lot of people are leaving."

The island's Gullah community has about 5,000 people.