Charleston Prepares for Possible Record Flooding from Hurricane Dorian

Sep 4, 2019

The corner of Water Street and East Bay along the Battery in downtown Charleston. The area is known for flooding.
Credit Victoria Hansen

Charleston city officials say they're ready for whatever Hurricane Dorian brings our way.  But what about the people who decided to stay? 

Many were still checking out the winds and waves along the historic city's battery wall late Wednesday, just hours before the storm's anticpated arrival.  An evacuation order for the entire coast has been in place since Monday.

“I want Charleston to be a ghost town," said Mayor John Tecklenburg Wednesday afternoon, as he tried again to get people to leave.

"I want everybody out of sight.  If  they're not out of town I want them hunkered down and safe.”

"I want Charleston to be a ghost town"- Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg encouraging people to evacuate

City officials say they expect the Charleston Harbor to rise more than ten feet overnight Wednesday, and through Thursday.  That's higher than both Hurrianes Matthew and Irma when the city saw substantial flooding

Charleston City Police Chief Luther Reynolds  antcipates extensive road closures that could come quickly.  He says large portions of the penisula will be shut down.

"It will not be possible to get in and around," said the chief.

He urges peope to stay off the roads and that includes going out to just look around.  The city's fire chief says they have high water vehicles from the National Guard on standby,  as well as swift water rescue teams.  They hope they don't have to use them.

Many people who have decided to stay admit they're grown hurricane weary.  Lowcountry native Aretha Gathers says the storms are just coming too frequently.

"I guess it's a good thing that I'm not panicked," she said  "But there is that thought in the back of my mind.  Will this be the one that is a Hugo and causes real damage?"