CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials across the Lowcountry are preparing for Hurricane Dorian and the storm’s potential impacts as it nears the coast.
One impact will be heavy rain, high tide and storm surge which is expected to create flooding throughout the downtown and coastal areas.
On Tuesday, city leaders gathered at the City of Charleston’s Emergency Operations Center and urge those who live in low-lying or flood-prone areas to heed evacuation orders and get out before the water begins to rise.
“This is a serious storm still and the triple threat of storm surge, high tide, and copious rain could produce flooding in the City of Charleston and coastal South Carolina. There is no question about it,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg. “If you live in a residence that has flooded over the last four years – between the 2015 storm, Matthew, Irma, you should evacuate your residence and go to higher ground.”
High tide is expected around 1:00 p.m. Wednesday and again at 1:00 a.m. Thursday. Tide levels could be as high or higher Wednesday and Thursday as they were during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Wave heights could reach between 8-12 feet.
Six inches of flowing water can drown a person, so officials are warning everyone if you see water: turn around, don’t drown.
“90% of the deaths during hurricanes happen because of water,” said Sen. Tim Scott. “Half of those deaths happen when you’re trying to escape the rising water.”
Chief Luther Reynolds said the city of working to keep the community and residents safe and again urged evacuations. “This is not the time to relax, this is the time to continue to be vigilant.”
He said emergency officials continue to look at the safety of all residents in all communities. “Tomorrow night, there is a tide predicted at 10-feet and that is a very high tide – that means significant flooding, significant road closures and potentially means rescues,” he said.
Chief Reynolds went on to say: “We cannot have people’s cars stranded in the middle of roadways. We want to do everything to get ahead of that flooding and to work closely with communities.”
In preparation for flooding, the director of the 911 Center for Charleston County said only call if your life is in danger. Do not call to report water in your house or power outages.
“Best rule of thumb to follow is to save a life, stop a crime, report a fire, that’s when you call 911,” said Jim Lake, Director of Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch.
At some point during the storm, first responders may not be able to come to your emergency because of the conditions. If they are not able to respond, they will call you back when they can.