Richland Co. closing gov't offices, opening shelter

Richland Co. closing gov't offices, opening shelter

Richland County leaders have declared a state of emergency in advance of possible effects from Hurricane Irma.

County officials made that announcement on Friday afternoon.

All Richland County offices will be closed on Monday and reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"All indications are that Richland County will be affected in some way," Richland County Vice Chairman Bill Malinowski said. "It's better to be prepared and say 'well, we didn't need it' and be sorry later."

A shelter at Dent Middle School will open at noon on Saturday in Richland County for residents and incoming evacuees. If needed, Dutch Fork High School and Ridge View High School are expected to open as shelters on Sunday. A shelter that will accept pets will be available near St. Andrews and Broad River Roads.

Richland County has activated an emergency hotline for any questions residents or visitors may have. That number is: 803-576-3439.

As it stands currently, the category 4 Hurricane Irma is expected to enter the Southeast on Sunday night through Monday night, with effects in the Midlands ranging from heavy winds and rains to isolated tornadoes.

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