CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and city officials held a briefing Wednesday afternoon to update the city’s response to Hurricane Dorian and the storm’s potential impact to the area.
It was then city leaders continued to urge residents who live in low-lying area or places prone to flooding to evacuate immediately due to the storm’s potential to bring in storm surge and heavy rain.
They said citizens should “prepare for life-threatening storm surge flooding, with saltwater inundation (water above ground level) up to 4 to 7 feet in southeast SC.”
Damaging hurricane-force winds are expected along the southeastern 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.
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.
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.
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
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 of Charleston Citizen Services Desk is staffed to answer citizens’ questions about storm preparations and can be reached at 843-724-7311.