Gov. McMaster: No plans to order evacuations ahead of Hurricane Isaias

The Governor says SCEMD will continue to monitor the storm's path as it moves closer

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) told reporters Friday he has no plans of filing any evacuation order as Hurricane Isaias creeps closer to the Carolina Coast.

However, he does encourage South Carolinians to start getting prepared in case the storm changes course.

Even after Hurricane Isaias became a Category One storm overnight, Gov. McMaster says the storm’s current path is not too alarming for his state.

“No State of Emergency should be issued for this storm at this time, we have no intention of issuing an emergency evacuation order at this time,” Gov. McMaster said.

The Governor says it’s important to keep monitoring the storm’s path, stocking up on emergency supplies, and making sure your phone is charged in case the power goes out. Now with the storm brewing in the middle of a pandemic, the Governor says his emergency management team has been making plans that don’t jeopardize the health of responders.

“That does complicate things, of course, it adds another layer of planning and expertise, but we’ve been planning for these things all along,” said Gov. McMaster.

Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson says this is the first time his team has juggled hurricane prep in the middle of a pandemic, but he says his team is prepared if they need to open up shelters. He said capacity will be limited to accommodate social distancing, but said they have adequate materials to stock shelters if need be.

“We actually have pre-positioned personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, and the masks down in the coastal areas, so that shouldn’t be a problem,” Stenson said.

Stenson also said his emergency response team has set up isolation areas, spaced out dining spaces, and now has an increased supply of PPE at the Emergency Management Division headquarters in West Columbia. Stenson said his team tried this on a smaller scale during the tornadoes back in April, saying it worked successfully.

Even though the storm could change its path over the next few days, Governor McMaster says keeping in the loop is the best way to prepare.

“We’re monitoring it closely. If it cuts deeper into the coast, grows stronger, we’ll be the first ones to let you know,” Gov. McMaster said.

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