The city of Charleston continues to operate at OPCON 1, indicating the highest state of emergency operations, and the Municipal Emergency Operations Center remains fully activated as officials prepare for potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
Charleston City Council will consider two emergency ordinances designed to prohibit price gouging and enable emergency road closures at their telephonic meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today. At this time, these emergency ordinances do not order or authorize curfews.
The dial-in number for the meeting is 1-800-747-5150 and the access code is 5777434.
Based on information from the National Weather Service, “major, life-threatening storm surge flooding is expected to develop as Dorian passes offshore.” Additionally, “Tropical Storm force winds are likely and hurricane force winds are possible near the coast.”
Tides are expected to increase significantly Wednesday afternoon into Thursday and are likely to cause major tidal flooding. A 10.3-foot high tide is predicted in Charleston Thursday morning.
New GIS mapping tools have been developed and added to the city website to allow citizens to track hurricane-related information, including current road closures, shelter openings and tide levels, in real-time. They can be accessed at: https://gis.charleston-sc.gov/hurricane-maps-tools
In conjunction with Governor Henry McMaster’s evacuation order, city of Charleston offices and facilities are closed today and will remain closed until further notice. Personnel assisting with the city’s emergency operations will remain on duty throughout the duration of the storm.
All city of Charleston meetings, Municipal Court sessions and Recreation Department events and activities have been canceled. After the storm has passed, information regarding rescheduling will be released.
The city has opened the following parking garages for residents to park their cars for free during the storm:
- Aquarium parking garage (24 Calhoun Street)
- Visitor Center parking garage (63 Mary Street)
- Queen Street parking garage (93 Queen Street)
- Camden/Exchange parking garage (35 John Street)
- Charleston Place parking garage (85 Hasell Street)
- Concord/Cumberland parking garage (1 Cumberland Street)
- East Bay/Prioleau parking garage (25 Prioleau Street)
- Majestic parking garage (211 King Street)
- Marion Square parking garage (399 King Street)
- Midtown parking garage (558 King Street)
- Saint Philip Street parking garage (34 Saint Philip Street)
- 99 West Edge parking garage (99 West Edge Street)
Garage openings are for cars only, and do not apply to boats or trailers. The Gaillard Center parking garage is reserved for emergency personnel.
A decision on when to resume normal parking garage operations will be made after the storm passes.
With the Governor’s evacuation order, Carolina Waste and Republic Services, the city’s garbage and trash collection contractors, have begun evacuations. As a result, collection on Daniel Island and in outer West Ashley has been suspended. In preparation for possible flooding related to storm surge, city crews are running their Monday routes today. Beginning tomorrow, garbage and trash collection will be suspended in all areas of the city until further notice.
Citizens are asked to clear garbage cans and bags from the curb and secure any loose yard debris prior to evacuating, as these items are likely to block storm drains and inhibit drainage if left out during the storm.
Sandbag distribution began at 8 a.m. this morning and is ongoing at the following self-serve locations:
- 14 Sumar Street (Old Piggly Wiggly site)
- West Ashley Park, 3601 Mary Ader Avenue
- James Island Town Hall, 1122 Dills Bluff Road
- Grace Bridge Street Parking Lot, 5 Grace Bridge Street
- Volvo Car Stadium, 161 Seven Farms Drive
Residents should bring their own shovels for assembly. Staff are on-site to provide assistance, as needed.
A limit of 10 sandbags per car applies to all residents visiting these locations. To purchase additional sandbags, citizens should contact a local home hardware store.
Distribution is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Wednesday, September 4, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in all locations, as supplies last.
The city’s Stormwater Department has secured temporary pumps, which will be staged in low-lying areas prone to flooding, along with heavy equipment teams to assist with managing flooded areas. Crews will continue to perform pre-storm preventative maintenance on storm drains and ditches.
The Parks Department has completed the process of securing city buildings and continues to lower the water level in Lake Dotterer, as the tide cycles allow. Colonial Lake has been lowered more than two feet. Crews will continue working today to secure loose items, remove trash can liners and lids, and clear storm drains in city parks.
The Charleston Police Department continues to assist the South Carolina Highway Patrol with traffic control related to the ongoing evacuation and I-26 lane reversal. In total, 133 officers have been dispatched throughout the city to support this effort.
The Charleston Fire Department continues working with the city’s department of Housing and Community Development and the Charleston Housing Authority to ensure that information regarding the storm and evacuation order is distributed to all citizens. As part of this process, teams are moving door-to-door notifying residents of mobile homes and other vulnerable areas.
The Fire Department has also called in additional personnel and resources to assist with storm preparation, including pre-staging vehicles. Additional resources include: special team vehicles equipped with small boats and swift water rescue members, high-water vehicles staffed by the National Guard and FEMA boat teams.
The city of Charleston Citizen Services Desk is staffed to answer citizens’ questions about storm preparations and can be reached at 843-724-7311. Residents are also encouraged to review the city’s Hurricane Information webpage, which can be accessed at http://www.charleston-sc.gov/hurricane-information.
City officials will remain in close communication with Charleston County and other local agencies throughout the weekend, and will continue to receive regular updates from the National Weather Service regarding the storm’s track and potential local impacts.
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. Additional hurricane preparedness information can be found at www.scemd.org.