State of emergency declared in South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Ian

WEST COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Ian, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency but refrained from mandating evacuations.

Since 3 p.m. Today I declared a state of emergency, but not an evacuation,” he stated. The declaration of a state of emergency suspends a number of regulations and restrictions, allowing us to move swiftly, to move people and assets, and to access FEMA funds.

McMaster stated that he will not be issuing any evacuation orders since he has been in contact with the counties and they do not believe they require evacuations.

“I am not directing the closure of any state government offices or schools. “That is up to the individual school districts,” he stated.

McMaster’s proclamation of a state of emergency activates the state’s emergency operations plan. In addition, it activates the state’s National Guard to begin positioning assets and soldiers.

McMaster stated, “It’s too early to tell exactly how Hurricane Ian will hit South Carolina, but preparations are well underway at the state level, and this proclamation of emergency is another step in that process.” Now is the time for every South Carolinian to establish contingency plans and be ready for any eventuality, as we anticipate heavy rainfall and a big storm surge along the coast in the coming days.

John Quagliariello, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, reported that Hurricane Ian made landfall southwest of Punta Gorda, Florida, as a Category 4 hurricane with 150-mile-per-hour winds.

“According to the National Hurricane Center’s current forecast, Ian will move northeast across the Florida peninsula while weakening gradually before reentering the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical storm, where it is expected to maintain its strength as it tracks toward the South Carolina coast on Friday,” Quagliariello said.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch and storm surge warnings for the coastline of South Carolina, from the Georgia state line to the boundary between Charleston County and Georgetown County.

He stated that tropical storm warnings are in effect for the entire South Carolina coastline.

Quagliariello stated that Ian might strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane over water before it reaches the coast of South Carolina. He advised locals to be prepared for power disruptions due to the possibility of gusts of 40 mph or higher. He also advised residents in low-lying or flood-prone areas to migrate to higher ground since the winds could cause a lengthy period of three- to five-foot storm surge flooding beginning Thursday and lasting through Saturday.

“We anticipate some places to experience flash flooding. We anticipate significant water from the ocean flooding portions of the coast and isolated tornadoes,” he stated.

South Carolina Transportation Secretary Christy Hall stated that the SCDOT is prepared to utilize all available resources to mitigate the effects of Hurricane Ian. Hall stated that the agency has more than 2,100 staff working around the state in preparation for the storm.

“Additionally, we are transferring some of these resources to coastal areas to assist with the anticipated recovery activities that may be necessary as a result of fallen trees or isolated floods,” she said.

“Now is the time to complete preparations since these winds will soon arrive,” McMaster added. “We are aware of both this and the impending precipitation. Thus, be ready. Know where your vital documents are, where your medications are, and where you can go if necessary. Know what to do with your pets, inform your family, and so on.”

McMaster defended his choice not to order evacuations, stating that it was not required given the available information.

“Evacuation causes a great deal of inconvenience, and it is not essential for this storm,” he stated. “It has been essential for others. This one has less wind speed than some of the others, and it has greater wind speed than some of the others; yet, they have all affected different sections of the state. “However, based on our study with the National Weather Service and our monitoring of the situation in Florida, we do not believe it is necessary to order evacuations at this time and will not do so.”

Some shelters will be available for those in need. Text “Shelter” and their zip code to 43362 to receive a list of open shelters within 200 miles of their location.

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