COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — Gov. Henry McMaster and state emergency leaders on Tuesday encouraged South Carolinians from the coast to the upstate to be prepared for impacts from Hurricane Ian.
“We are fully prepared for whatever comes,” McMaster said. “We’ve been through a lot of hurricanes and tornadoes and other storms together.”
The governor said they do not want to interrupt schools and business but it may be inevitable depending upon impacts from Ian. “We know that we’re going to have a lot of water, we’re going to have some wind, we know that we’re going to experience some rough weather,” he said.
At the time of the briefing, no local school district announced any plans to cancel classes in the Lowcountry. But it is a decision that could come as early as Wednesday or Thursday. “Stay tuned,” said Gov. McMaster.
But the Charleston County School District sent a message to parents soon after saying it was moving to virtual learning on Friday in anticipation of the storm.
Director Kim Stenson with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the agency is working with state and local partners when it comes to preparedness and any possible action in terms of response to the storm.
He said residents should review their emergency plans and consider actions they need to take if threatened by the storm. That would include having bottled water and non-perishable food for every person in the family for a three-day period.
“It’s important for all of us to have emergency plans in place for whatever disaster situation we might encounter, Hurricane Ian is no different,” said Stenson. “Everyone should be their own emergency manager.”
South Carolina leaders said they are preparing for sporadic outages and say residents across the state should also be prepared for that possibility.
John Quagliariello with the National Weather Service said Ian will likely bring widespread impacts to the state beginning Thursday and persisting into the weekend – including the potential for tropical storm force winds, storm surge flooding along the coast, heavy rainfall and flash flooding inland, and isolated tornadoes.
Ian is currently a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 120 mph as of Tuesday afternoon. It’s projected to hit Florida’s west coast as a major hurricane on Wednesday before making its way toward Georgia and South Carolina later this week.
The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch and Storm Surge Watch for portions of the South Carolina coastline including Charleston County to Savannah.
“Given the uncertainty in the track, it’s certainly possible that Ian could cross Florida into the Atlantic before turning north and directly impacting the coast,” said Quagliariello. “The current weather pattern could result in strengthening wind and increasing storm surge well ahead of Ian’s approach.”
No decision has been made when it comes to evacuations in South Carolina. State emergency leaders say you should know your zone and when to leave if a call is made.