At 2 p.m. today, the city of Charleston joined Charleston County in moving to OPCON-1 as Hurricane Ian approaches the Charleston area.
With strong winds forecast for the area starting Friday morning, the Charleston Fire Department and Charleston Police Department remind residents to stay home and out of the weather. Citizens are advised that during periods of high winds and hazardous conditions, firefighter and police officer response time will be delayed.
Currently projected impacts: As of Thursday evening, Hurricane Ian is east of the Florida coast, moving north to the Carolinas. Expect tropical storm conditions Thursday evening and hurricane conditions Friday morning, with sustained wind speeds of 40-50 mph and gusts between 70 and 80 mph. Four to eight inches of rainfall is likely Thursday night and Friday; local amounts could be higher. Flash flooding and road inundation is possible and areas prone to flooding should be avoided.
Parking garage availability: Due to late student evacuations this afternoon and evening, approximately 200 spaces have now opened up in the city garage at 34 St. Philip Street. As a result, citizens may now park in that garage free of charge until 5 p.m. Saturday, October 1. All other city garages are now believed to be full.
In addition, as of 8 p.m. tonight, the Charleston County parking garage at 90 Cumberland Street had at least 200 spaces still available. Parking in that garage is free until 12 p.m. Sunday, October 2.
24-hour citizen information line: The 24-hour citizen information line is now activated. Call 843-724-7311 with any questions or to report damage. For emergencies, please call 911.
Shelters: Charleston County has opened two shelters.
- Pet Shelter – 3841 Leeds Avenue, North Charleston.
- Dunston Elementary - 1825 Remount Road, North Charleston.
CARTA buses, including buses to Charleston County Shelters: CARTA will suspend operations early Thursday evening. The final bus off the peninsula will depart from Mary Street at 9:05 p.m. All CARTA services will be suspended on Friday and may resume Saturday, weather permitting, according to BCDCOG.
City office closures: City of Charleston offices, including the Municipal Court, will be closed all day Friday. Charleston Gaillard Center staff will be off Friday and Saturday, with some working from home.
Recreation: All Recreation programs and activities are cancelled through Saturday.
Sandbag distribution: Sandbag distribution operations ended Thursday evening. Approximately 37,700 sandbags – 24 truckloads of sand – were distributed Wednesday and Thursday.
Charleston Police Department Update: The Charleston Police Department’s main priority is life safety and protecting citizens and their property. All available department personnel are being utilized to maximize police presence throughout the city. Police Department command staff members continue to staff the Municipal Emergency Operations Center, in partnership with all other city operations.
Citizens are urged to avoid all unnecessary travel. Officers have prepositioned barricades in all low-lying areas and roads will be closed as needed. Motorists are warned not to drive around barricades.
Charleston Fire Department Update: The Fire Department has reached out to high-risk populations to remind them of available resources. Additional team members are in place to assist with the potential impacts.
In addition to preparing for the storm, the Fire Department on Friday will staff an additional two high water vehicles (bringing the total to four 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.
Charleston Department of Livability and Tourism: Livability officers will be patrolling their assigned areas, identifying and removing potential obstructions to storm drains and removing garbage cans from the streets Friday. All carriage tour companies voluntarily closed Thursday, and carriage operations will remain closed Friday. Carriage operations are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Saturday at 9 a.m. The department’s Equine Manager has conducted barn inspections at the local carriage companies as an added precaution.
Due to the potential for flooding, the city’s Stormwater Department has staged temporary pumps in some 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.
Citizens can monitor the 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/.
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.