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Hurricane Ian makes landfall in South Carolina

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and state officials briefed residents Friday afternoon from the Emergency Operations Center in Columbia shortly before Hurricane Ian made landfall at 2:05 p.m. near Georgetown. As of the 2 p.m. National Hurricane Center advisory, Ian is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mile per hour. The South Carolina coast could experience storm surge of four to seven feet.

McMaster said that there have been no fatalities yet and urged that people do not go outside until the storm has passed. “Human error and misjudgments” are the biggest mistakes people can make, said McMaster. He asked that communication will be sent to the public when it’s safe to stop sheltering in place. Rob Woods of the Department of Public safety said that there have been over 131 calls for services between 6 a.m. and noon today, with 300 law enforcement officers ready to respond to calls. No fatalities have been reported so far.

People who live in low-lying, flood-prone areas or mobile homes should consider sheltering on higher ground and in a “well-constructed” building. There are currently five general population shelters open in South Carolina: Williamsburg Recovery Center in Kingstree, Ridgeland High-Junior-Elementary Complex in Ridgeland, Sheriff’s Admin Facility in North Charleston, Orangeburg New City Gym in Orangeburg, and Dunston elementary School in North Charleston. Officials asked that people bring their own bedding, food and supplies to these locations. Shelters are currently only at 15% capacity.

Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall asked that people not travel unnecessarily today as road conditions deteriorate. She said over 2,000 employees are ready to respond to downed trees and other debris. No major road closures have been reported so far, though there are some closures in the Charleston area. It is never safe to drive through flood waters.

Director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control Dr. Ed Simmer reminded the public flood waters can pose serious health threats. Flood waters can not only lead to drowning but can also carry dangerous bacteria and toxins. He warned people not to venture into flood waters, but if they do, to rinse off and change into clean clothes if possible. All hospitals remain open, but clinics and urgent care facilities may be closed.

Nanette Edwards of the Office of Regulatory Staff reported that power outages are now up to 69,000 and climbing. She said she expects outages climb as crews must stop their activities once winds reach 30 miles per hour. She asked that people with power take a moment to charge their devices and take care of other necessary tasks and those without power to notify their utility companies and report any downed power lines.

State government offices are currently closed in 28 counties. Visit the Emergency Management Division website for updates and more information.