Hurricane Florence predictions are looking a lot better for Beaufort and Jasper counties, but agencies across the Lowcountry remain ready for anything.
“We’re really at the zero hour, the storm is right off the coast of North Carolina and still has a prediction to produce a significant rain event in South Carolina,” said Chief Reece Bertholf with the Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department.
In one of the lowest-lying areas of Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort is preparing for a lot of rain and possible flooding.
“Historically we’ve had some pretty significant flooding events over the last three or four years,” said Bertholf. He added that it’s always the worst when heavy rains come at high tide.
City staff filled sandbags Thursday morning, as hundreds lined up to get them in order to protect their homes.
While the city is working on a long term solution, for now, it’s sandbags and clean storm drains.
Beaufort City Mayor Billy Keyserling said they’re “really doing the best we can to clean the ditches, flush the pipes, to make sure that whatever comes can run.”
With the chance of that kind of water and possible tropical storm-type winds, law enforcement and emergency operation centers across the county are fully staffed and standing by.
“At this point, the lagoons that we control, we’ve lowered, we’ve asked others to do the same thing to allow some capacity for the rain that’s coming,” said Tom Dunn with Hilton Head Island’s Emergency Management. “And we’ve also fueled our lift stations and our pumping stations to make sure that they’re running and continuing to function during the storm,”
Several utility trucks from Aiken are staged on Boundary Street ready for any possible power outages.
“It’s inter-agencies working together and we’re as ready as we can possibly be for any effects to be felt by Florence,” Bertholf said.
First responders say they will answer calls as long as weather permits.
After Hurricane Matthew, the county did get much heavier vehicles that can withstand strong wind and high waters. Beaufort County Emergency Management says those are on standby as well.