COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Emergency Response Team continues to track Hurricane Florence and remains fully dedicated to preparing for the storm’s potential impact on South Carolina. Forecasters say that Florence is currently a Category 2 hurricane with the capacity to bring record amounts of rain to South Carolina. The State Emergency Operations Center is fully operational, staffed by emergency personnel from various state agencies and emergency organizations. The SEOC will be operational 24 hours a day until further notice.
As Hurricane Florence begins to affect the state, residents who were unable to evacuate should:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- Be alert. Tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.
Residents should be prepared for catastrophic flooding throughout much of the state:
- Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
- If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Response Team has:
- 4609 people are staying in 66 evacuation shelters throughout the state.
- DHEC has opened 12 special medical needs shelters.
- There are five pet shelters open.
- More than 1100 state law enforcement officers are on duty.
- The South Carolina National Guard has more than 2,700 Soldiers and Airmen on duty and 132 State Guard members on duty.
- The Air Operations Branch has three aircraft staged to provide aerial reconnaissance over designated evacuation routes.
- The FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is on site.
- Anyone interested in volunteering can go to register.
- No river sweeps are scheduled; they will be reinstated after landfall of the storm.
- The state Public Information Phone System has answered over 5,300 calls.
- More than 2,200 people have been evacuated from 113 health care facilities along the coast.
- DHEC has assessed 241 dams in the projected path of the storm.
As the path of Hurricane Florence approaches, residents should continue to monitor local media and official, verified social media accounts from public safety agencies. Evacuation shelter locations, emergency information for residents, ways to volunteer and how to donate goods are at scemd.org.
Residents with questions about Hurricane Florence should call the state’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-246-0133.