CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A state of emergency has been declared in the City of Charleston as leaders prepare for the potential of heavy flooding from Hurricane Ian.

On Thursday, Mayor John Tecklenburg and other city officials held a press conference to discuss their latest preparation efforts.

“We are taking this storm seriously and we need our citizens to be prepared. Tomorrow (Friday) when this storm is upon us, stay home, stay out of harm’s way,” advised the mayor.

On Wednesday evening, the city went into “preparation mode,” when officials switched from Operating Condition 3 to OPCON 2. OPCON 3 is considered normal daily operations. They expect to move into OPCON 1 on Friday morning.

“What that means is we will be in full response mode. That’s when all of our emergency services are geared towards the storm. That’s when we take this on in full,” said Ben Almquist, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Charleston.

Charleston is providing several resources to keep people safe. Two shelters are open in Charleston County. A pet-friendly shelter located at 3841 Leeds Avenue opened at 8 am on Thursday. Dunston Elementary School at 1825 Remount Road opened its doors at 12 pm on Thursday.

Mayor Tecklenburg urged anyone who experienced flooding at their homes in previous storms to seek shelter elsewhere.

On Thursday morning, Charleston City Council approved three emergency ordinances which gave the mayor and police the authority to limit vehicular traffic on certain roads. The move also gave them permission to impose a curfew, if needed.

The city’s fire and police departments have increased their staffing and are ready to use high water vehicles in case of an emergency.

“Please stay home, stay out of harm’s way. We’re going to have a lot of road closures. There is going to be significant flooding,” said Police Chief Luther Reynolds.

For the latest on road closures, click here.