CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city leaders Thursday afternoon provided an update on Tropical Storm Ian and measures they are taking to ensure the city is ready for the storm’s impacts.

Ian will bring storm surge, coastal flooding, heavy rain and windy conditions as it nears the South Carolina coast late Thursday and into the day on Friday.

“At this time, the primary threat to the city of Charleston is expected to be flooding due to heavy rainfall and high tides starting Thursday afternoon to evening and continuing through Saturday morning,” the city said in an update Wednesday. “Most rainfall will occur on Friday, with five to eight inches of rainfall projected and up to 10 inches of rain possible. Locally higher amounts and substantial rainfall rates may occur.”

City leaders urged residents to take the storm seriously saying they are “preparing for hurricane-like conditions.”

“We need our citizens to be prepared and tomorrow when the storm is upon us, stay home, stay out of harm’s way,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said.

The city will open some parking garages for residents to keep their vehicles safe from rising water beginning at 5:00 p.m. but those vehicles must be removed by 5:00 p.m on Saturday to avoid any fees.

Those garages include:

  • Aquarium Garage – 24 Calhoun Street
  • East Bay/ Prioleau – 25 Prioleau Street
  • Queen Street – 93 Queen Street
  • Visitor Center – 63 Mary Street
  • 99 West Edge – 99 West Edge Street

The City has also opened two emergency shelters for those in low-lying and flood-prone areas who need a safe place to stay.

  • Pet-Friendly Shelter- 3841 Leeds Avenue
  • Dunston Elementary School- 1825 Remount Road

Free transportation on CARTA to the shelters is available–look for the blue hurricane evacuation signs at the nearest bus stops.

Charleston city offices are set to close at 3:00 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday. All Recreation programs and activities will be canceled beginning Thursday at 3:00 p.m. and remain canceled through Friday.

Sandbag distribution is taking place until 3:00 p.m. Thursday at the following locations:

  • Bee’s Landing Recreation Center, 1580 Ashley Garden Boulevard (West Ashley)
  • Hampton Park parking lot on the corner of Ashley Avenue and Mary Murray Drive (peninsula)
  • Seven Farms Drive behind Governor’s Park Dog Park, Under I-526 (Daniel Island)
  • Grace Bridge Street parking lot between America and East Bay streets (peninsula)
  • James Island Town Hall, 1122 Dills Bluff Road (James Island)

There is a limit of 10 sandbags per residence. To purchase additional sandbags, citizens should contact a local home hardware store.

If you need assistance during the storm, you can call the city’s non-emergency line at (843) 724-7311. Call 911 immediately if in need of emergency assistance.