City Offices Closing Thursday at 3 p.m., Five Parking Garages Opening Thursday at 5 p.m., Sandbag Distribution Extended, Additional City Events Cancelled
City of Charleston officials continue to prepare for impacts from Hurricane Ian. City Emergency Management is working closely with state and regional officials to monitor the storm’s track and coordinate preparation efforts.
Currently projected impacts: The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Watch and a Storm Surge Warning for Charleston County, anticipating a two- to four-foot storm surge in the next 48-hour period.
At this time, the primary threat to the city of Charleston is expected to be flooding due to heavy rainfall and high tides starting Thursday evening and continuing through Saturday. Between Thursday and Sunday, six to eight inches of rainfall is projected. Locally higher amounts and substantial rainfall rates may occur.
Coastal flooding is possible as early as Wednesday and may be exacerbated by rainfall Thursday and Friday.
From Friday morning to Friday evening, there will be gusty winds, possibly to tropical storm force (35 - 45 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph), according to NWS Charleston.
Parking garages: The city of Charleston will open the following garages to City residents, free of charge, beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 29 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 1:
- Aquarium Garage – 24 Calhoun Street
- East Bay/ Prioleau – 25 Prioleau Street
- Queen Street – 93 Queen Street
- Visitor Center – 63 Mary Street
- 99 West Edge – 99 West Edge Street
All cars must be removed from the garages by 5 p.m., Saturday, October 1. Anyone who uses the garages must follow the following process:
- Vehicles need to be removed by designated time to be eligible for free parking.
- Pull a ticket upon entering
- When leaving – Press the black “assistance” button on the upper right-hand side of the call box. An attendant will respond to assist you.
- State you were parking to avoid the flooding.
- Provide your name and address when requested.
- Insert your ticket into the machine (if you have not already done so)
- Attendant will raise the gate for you to exit
No boats, trailers or golf carts are allowed.
City office closures: City of Charleston offices will be closed beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday.
Recreation: All Recreation programs and activities will be cancelled beginning Thursday at 3 p.m. and remain cancelled through Friday.
Sandbag distribution extended into Thursday: Distribution began 8 a.m. Wednesday and will continue until 6 p.m. Wednesday. There is a limited number of free sand and bags available for residents to build their own sandbags. Residents should bring their own shovels for assembly. Staff will be on-site to assist, as needed.
Sandbag distribution will continue Thursday, September 29 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.
The self-serve pick-up locations are:
- Bee’s Landing Recreation Center, 1580 Ashley Garden Boulevard (West Ashley)
- Hampton Park parking lot on the corner of Ashley Avenue and Mary Murray Drive (peninsula)
- Seven Farms Drive behind Governor’s Park Dog Park, Under I-526 (Daniel Island)
- Grace Bridge Street parking lot between America and East Bay streets (peninsula)
Sandbag locations with town of James Island:
- James Island Town Hall, 1122 Dills Bluff Road (James Island)
There is a limit of 10 sandbags per residence. To purchase additional sandbags, citizens should contact a local home hardware store.
Cancellations: In accordance with guidance from the Emergency Management Division, the following city-scheduled events have been cancelled or rescheduled. Newly added cancellations and rescheduled events are in bold:
- West Ashley Farmers Market, September 28 – cancelled.
- Coffee with the Mayor, September 29 from 8 – 9 a.m. at Local Works, 1859 Summerville Avenue, Suite 800 – cancelled.
- MOJA Opening Parade, September 29 – cancelled.
- Architectural Merit Public Input Session, September 29 – postponed and will be rescheduled.
- MOJA Visual Arts reception, September 29 5 – 7 p.m. at City Gallery – rescheduled to a later date.
- MOJA Reggae Block Dance, September 30 6 p.m. at Brittlebank Park – cancelled.
- Charleston Farmers Market, October 1 – cancelled.
- MOJA Visual Arts on view at City Gallery, September 30 – cancelled as city offices will be closed.
- MOJA Cuba dentro de un piano, September 30 at 7 p.m. – cancelled as city offices will be closed.
- Operation Neighborhood, October 1 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Hampstead Square Park, Columbus and America Streets – rescheduled to a later date.
- Black Biz on the Block, October 1 – from 1 to 5 p.m. at Philip Simmons Park, 64 Columbus Street – rescheduled to October 22.
- Cooper River Bridge Run Kids Run, October 2 from 2 – 6 p.m. at Stoney Field – rescheduled to a later date.
The city’s Emergency Management Division continues to review events and will update this list as necessary.
Charleston Police Department Update: Officers have prepositioned barricades in all low-lying areas. The Police Department has established alternate staffing with the maximum amount of personnel on duty and continue through the duration of the storm. Officers will be out directing traffic until conditions worsen. Charleston Police urge motorists to drive with care and avoid areas prone to flooding.
Charleston Fire Department Update: The Fire Department is reaching out to high-risk populations to remind them of available resources. Additional team members and units will be placed in service to assist with the potential impact of the storm. The Fire Department asks builders to fill out a Job Site Pre-Storm Assessment: https://www.charleston-sc.gov/FormCenter/Fire-Department-12/Job-Site-PreStorm-Assessment-52. Additional information for businesses to prepare for impending storms is available here: https://charleston-sc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32625/Hurricane_Prep_For_Business_Community_Ver_2018-09-10
Garbage and trash collection: Commercial garbage collection on Friday (September 30, 2022) will not be collected. With no residential garbage and trash pickup normally scheduled Friday, residents are asked to secure garbage bins and trash in anticipation of the storm.
More information: Due to the potential for flooding, the city’s Stormwater Department has reserved temporary pumps to position in low lying areas. Stormwater and Public Service Department crews continue to clean ditches and drains in flood-prone areas. Citizens can visit the city’s Adopt-a-drain webpage for information on ways they can help.
Monitor the next several day’s tide forecast in real time with the city-developed TIDEeye app. TIDEeye reports tide and weather data from multiple sources in real-time to aid in decision making. Data sources include the National Weather Service, NOAA, City-operated weather stations, Waze user reports, and City reported road closures: https://gis.charleston-sc.gov/tideeye/
Citizens are encouraged to begin making preparations now. The city’s Hurricane Information webpage can be accessed at https://www.charleston-sc.gov/974/Hurricane-Information. Updates on Hurricane Ian will be released and posted to the webpage as new information becomes available.
“If your car is in a place prone to serious flooding, heavy rainfall, very high tides and storm surge on Thursday, Friday, and potentially early Saturday could flood your vehicle and damage it. We urge you to move your vehicle to a safe place,” said City of Charleston Emergency Management Director Ben Almquist. “Don’t wait, move your vehicle.”
For the most accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts, residents should stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service Charleston websites, as well as local media and the FEMA app. Additional hurricane preparedness information can be found at www.scemd.org.