Midlands prepares for Hurricane Florence as path significantly shifts

COLUMBIA,SC (WOLO)- Hurricane Florence’s shift overnight has the city of Columbia moving to take more safety measures.

“We’re being vigilant, working every single day, every single hour,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “We just came out of an emergency operation center meeting covering literally every aspect of the city from emergency response to solid waste.”

Shelters are popping up across the Midlands. The first top open was at Ridge View High School, which will hold 150 people.

“We’re making sure that we’re hospitable of meeting needs of all our citizens through South Carolina,” Benjamin said.

Shelters received donations Wednesday morning, as more people came to take cover before the storm hits.

Animal shelters in the Midlands are housing additional furry friends.

“We have tripled our load of animals here,”Cassidy Olson, outreach coordinator PetsInc. said.

Pets Inc in West Columbia is in need of support as more shelters bring in pups and kittens.

“We need food, for  puppies dogs, kittens, and cats,” Olson said. “We need crates to house them in, blankets to keep them comfortable, toys to keep them mentally stimulated. We also are in need of volunteers.”

As Hurricane Florence gets closer more people in the Midlands are stocking up on supplies.

“On Saturday it started with Charleston people in here, but today and yesterday it was more local are coming in,” Shannon Cochran, Lowes assistant store manager said. “We’ve had them from the coast coming in just trying to get supplies. We’re trying to get supplies in for the community.”

City of Columbia officials say plans and preparations are in place ahead of the dangerous storm.

“We’re working arm and arm with our friends at the county, at the state, and certainly our federal representatives to make sure we prioritize the preservation of human life, safety, and security of our homes,” Benjamin said.

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