CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County will open two emergency shelters Thursday as the Lowcountry braces for the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

The storm is expected to be a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches the South Carolina coast early Friday morning.

Ian could be felt in the Lowcountry as soon as Wednesday night, with the worst effects expected Thursday and Friday. Officials anticipate Category 1 hurricane-level windspeeds and four to five feet of storm surge on top of abnormally high tides. Flooding is expected to be significant throughout the area.

Officials urged residents to consider relocating if they live in low-lying areas, areas that frequently flood, or barrier islands. All other residents are asked to stay home and ride the storm out.

The county is opening two shelters Thursday for those in need of a safe place to stay.

A pet-friendly shelter will open at 8:00 a.m. at 3841 Leeds Avenue.

A second shelter will open at 12:00 p.m. at Dunston Elementary School at 1825 Remount Road.

People are asked to bring pillows, blankets, snacks, medicines, and anything else they may need to stay comfortable.

Busses will provide transportation to the shelters starting at 8:00 a.m. Thursday in downtown Charleston Pickups for the remainder of the county will begin at 10:30 a.m. Pickup points are designated with blue hurricane pickup signs.

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