City of Charleston moved to OPCON 2 Thursday at 4 p.m. as officials 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.
In response to Gov. Henry McMaster's state of emergency declaration regarding Hurricane Ian, Charleston City Council will meet in special session at 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 29 to consider three emergency ordinances:
1. An ordinance authorizing Police Chief Luther Reynolds or his designees to limit vehicular traffic on certain streets as necessary to protect public safety;
2. An ordinance authorizing Mayor John Tecklenburg, in consultation with Police Chief Luther Reynolds, to limit vehicular traffic in designated areas as necessary to protect public safety; and
3. An ordinance authorizing Mayor John Tecklenburg, in consultation with Police Chief Luther Reynolds, to impose a curfew if and only if necessary to protect public safety.
The City Council meeting will be conducted virtually and streamed live on the city's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CityofCharlestonSCgov. The agenda is available here: https://charleston-sc.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09292022-7758.
Currently projected impacts: The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Watch, a Tropical Storm Warning and a Storm Surge Warning for Charleston County, anticipating a three- to five-foot storm surge in the next 48-hour period.
As Hurricane Ian exits Florida and tracks up the Atlantic Ocean, it is projected to make landfall as a tropical storm near the South Carolina/ Georgia border. That projected landfall is expected around high tide.
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 afternoon to evening and continuing through Saturday morning. Most rainfall will occur on Friday, with five to eight inches of rainfall projected and up to 10 inches of rain possible. Locally higher amounts and substantial rainfall rates may occur.
Coastal flooding is possible as early as Thursday morning 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. Charleston Gaillard Center staff will be released early on Thursday and will be off Friday and Saturday, with some working from home.
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. New cancellations and rescheduled events are included:
· 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 Gaillard Center’s Charleston Symphony Orchestra performances scheduled for September 30 and October 1 have been rescheduled to October 2 and October 3. Planned event in the Exhibition Hall will also be rescheduled.
· 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: The Police Department has staffed the Municipal Emergency Operations Center and has completed comprehensive planning to protect citizens and property. The Police Department has determined alternate staffing to ensure the maximum amount of personnel are on duty throughout the duration of the storm. Officers continue to position barricades in low-lying areas. Officers will be directing traffic until conditions worsen. The Police Departments urges our citizens to prepare for the storm and for motorists to drive with care, making sure to 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.
In addition to preparing for the storm, the Fire Department we will be staffing two high water vehicles to assist with water rescues and two utility vehicles to clear small trees and debris in order to assist with response. Additionally, inflatable boats have been prepared in case the need arises.
Members of the Fire Marshal Division have worked to contact various job sites to reduce hazards and have reached out to some of our residents in vulnerable areas. 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: Thursday’s residential garbage and trash pickup will take place as scheduled, with crews reporting early on Thursday to get all garbage and trash pickup completed before the storm. Residents who have their garbage and trash picked up on Thursday are asked to have their bins to the road by 6 a.m. With landfills closing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, there is a chance that some garbage and trash may not be picked up. If garbage and trash is not picked up by 4 p.m. on Thursday, residents are asked to bring their garbage bins and trash away from the road until the storm subsides.
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.
Charleston Department of Livability and Tourism: Livability officers will be patrolling their assigned areas identifying and removing potential obstructions away from storm drains and removing garbage cans from the streets Thursday and Friday. Carriage tour operations will be suspended at 1:30 p.m., Thursday and all day Friday. Carriage operations will tentatively reopen on Saturday at 9:00 a.m.
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 (https://www.charleston-sc.gov/1984/Adopt-A-Drain) 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/.
Additionally, road closures updated in real-time are available here: https://gis.charleston-sc.gov/road-closures-regional/.
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.
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.