State officials preparing for worst from Hurricane Dorian

On Monday, Governor Henry McMaster McMaster said evacuations are still underway from the eight coastal counties where a mandatory evacuation order was issued.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — South Carolina officials are working around the clock, preparing for the worst from Hurricane Dorian.

On Monday, Governor Henry McMaster McMaster said evacuations are still underway from the eight coastal counties where a mandatory evacuation order was issued. Officials from different state agencies are working together to monitor Dorian, and make decisions as needed to prepare people incase the storm takes a turn for the worst.

“Right now there is no prediction for a landfall here in the state. But again, the current forecast only shows it passing about 50 miles offshore. So that’s not very far at all,” said John Quagliariello with the National Weather Service.

With Dorian’s eye so close to land, a change in the hurricane’s path could lead to significant impacts on South Carolina’s coast. Because the hurricane could make landfall, state agencies are taking the necessary precautions.

“We’d rather be safe than sorry, and we know that anytime that we issue orders or take these measures it is to protect the lives of the people of and in South Carolina,” said McMaster. “If you are in one of the evacuation zones in the counties along the coast, the eight of them, then the time to leave is now, if you’re still here, to be safe.”

Right now, the mandatory evacuation continues for the coastal counties, and 13 shelters are open statewide for evacuees.

“We have ten general population shelters on standby, and 21 medical-needs shelters on standby,” said Michael Leach, the Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

As of right now, only schools and state government offices in those eight coastal counties will be closed on Tuesday, Sept. 3. But that may change with the track of the storm.

“In every county that is not under the evacuation order, there will be no executive order issued closing schools and government offices for Tuesday, September 3,” said McMaster.

Emergency Management officials said at this point, all they can do is be prepared.

“It’s still evacuation and sheltering operations right now, but we’re also looking towards planning for the initial response after we start to see the storm effects, damage assessment, eventually reentry and recovery,” said Kim Stenson, Director of South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

Officials are also asking you to evacuate if you are in one of the zones. And if you have to evacuate; make sure you know your evacuation route, be patient and be prepared.

“Ensure that your vehicle is properly serviced with a full tank of gas; have an emergency kit that includes snacks, foods, water, care items for kids, medication, toiletries, extra cash, flashlight, and a cell phone,” said Leroy Smith, Director of South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

McMaster added that they’ve learned from every experience with a hurricane, and the best thing state agencies can do is be prepared.

Another press conference is expected Tuesday afternoon, stay with ABC Columbia for the latest updates.

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