The city of Charleston continues to operate at OPCON 1, and the Municipal Emergency Operations Center remains fully activated with city officials working in 12-hour shifts to prepare for Hurricane Dorian response.
Charleston City Council will hold a telephonic meeting at 1:30 p.m. today to discuss updates related to Hurricane Dorian and its impacts to the Charleston area. At that time, Council will consider an emergency ordinance authorizing Mayor John Tecklenburg to enact a curfew, should one become necessary. This action would be precautionary, as a curfew is not currently planned. 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, citizens should “prepare for life-threatening storm surge flooding, with salt water inundation (water above ground level) up to 4 to 7 feet in southeast SC.” Additionally, “Damaging hurricane force winds are expected along the southeast SC coast and parts of eastern Berkeley County, and the strongest winds are expected along the Charleston County coast.”
Tides are expected to increase significantly this afternoon into Thursday and are likely to cause major tidal flooding. An 8.5-foot high tide is predicted in Charleston today at 1 p.m., with a 10.3-foot high tide predicted Thursday morning and a 9.4-foot high tide Thursday afternoon.
Due to the anticipated high tides and effects from Hurricane Dorian, road closures are likely to occur, especially in areas prone to flooding, and could include routes in and out of the city. Motorists are encouraged to avoid the Peninsula until the storm passes.
Additionally, due to the predicted storm surge and increasing tides, citizens and visitors are asked to avoid parking along the Battery until further notice. Any residents who park in low-lying areas prone to flooding are encouraged to move their cars to higher ground or a city parking garage.
City emergency management officials warn that, should conditions deteriorate significantly, rescue operations may be temporarily suspended for the safety of first responders.
Area landfills are now closed and garbage and trash collection has been suspended in all areas of the city until further notice.
Due to the onset of heavy rain, sandbag distribution concluded at 9 a.m. this morning.
Based on the latest city inspection, the following parking garages have spaces available for residents to park their cars for free during the storm:
- Marion Square parking garage (399 King Street)
- Midtown parking garage (558 King Street)
- Saint Philip Street parking garage (34 Saint Philip Street)
- Concord/Cumberland parking garage (1 Cumberland Street)
- East Bay/Prioleau parking garage (25 Prioleau Street)
- Majestic parking garage (211 King Street)
- Charleston Place parking garage (85 Hasell Street)
- Camden/Exchange parking garage (35 John 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.
As of today, the following shelters have been opened in Charleston County:
- Coastal Pre-Release Center (pet friendly) – 3765 Leeds Avenue, North Charleston 29405
- Pet owners must remain with their animal at the shelter.
- Military Magnet Academy – 2950 Carner Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
- R.B. Stall High School – 3625 Ashley Phosphate Rd, North Charleston, SC 29418
- Jerry Zucker Middle School – 6401 Dorchester Rd, North Charleston, SC 29418
Information on shelter transportation and pick-up points can be found in the Charleston County Hurricane Preparedness Guide, linked here: http://bit.ly/2lwRuwW
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’s Stormwater Department has temporary pumps ready to 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, as conditions allow.
Damage assessment teams will be mobilized beginning Thursday morning to identify impacted areas and document storm-related damage. Damage can also be reported using the city’s online tool: https://gis.charleston-sc.gov/report-damage/
The Parks Department has completed the process of securing city buildings and lowering the water levels in Lake Dotterer and Colonial Lake. Crews will continue working to secure loose items, remove trash can liners and lids, and clear storm drains in city parks today, as weather permits.
The Charleston Police Department continues assisting the South Carolina Highway Patrol with traffic control related to the evacuation and I-26 lane reversal. In total, 133 officers have been dispatched throughout the city to support the evacuation effort.
The Charleston Fire Department has staged additional personnel and resources to assist with storm response, including special team vehicles equipped with small boats and swift water rescue members, high-water vehicles staffed by the National Guard and FEMA boat teams.
As conditions allow, the Fire Department will continue 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 disseminated to all citizens. As part of this process, teams are moving door-to-door notifying residents of mobile homes and other vulnerable areas.
The city’s department of Traffic and Transportation has completed a pre-storm signal operations assessment citywide and the signal recovery team stands ready to respond to any outages that may occur.
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
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 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.