WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - At a Friday press conference, Governor Henry McMaster warns residents of rising flood waters ahead of what may be a few days of heavy rains in parts of South Carolina, courtesy of Hurricane Florence.
Weather officials echoed the governor's warning, saying that Hurricane Florence is only moving at 5 miles per hour. The now Category 1 hurricane made landfall north of Wilmington, NC.
Florence is set to make its arrival in the Midlands Friday night into Saturday, with rainfall and "catastrophic flash flooding" could occur in phases over the weekend, a National Weather Service spokesperson said. Florence could create historic flooding in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand area.
The hurricane has already been the cause of two deaths - a mother and her child - in Wilmington, NC.
The South Carolina Emergency Response Team continues to track Tropical Storm Florence and remains fully dedicated to preparing for the storm's impact on South Carolina. Forecasters say that Florence is currently a tropical storm and has the capacity to bring record amounts of rain to South Carolina. The State Emergency Operations Center is fully operational, staffed by emergency personnel from various state agencies and emergency organizations. The SEOC will be operational 24 hours a day until further notice.
As of 12:00 Noon Friday, the Response Team has reported:
- There were 70 shelters open with 6,338 in shelters
- A wind gust of 61 miles an hour at Myrtle Beach International Airport
- DHEC has opened nine special medical needs shelters
- More than 52,000 power outages in Horry County
- Some 14,000 sandbags have been delivered to local authorities by S.C. Department of Corrections
- Utility and debris cleanup crews are staged
- Over 660 State Troopers and 450 state law enforcement officers are on duty
- 3,249 National Guard personnel are on duty
- The FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is on site
- Anyone interested in volunteering can go to www.volunteersc.org to register
- The Public Information Phone System has answered over 6,600 calls, many of the calls today concern issues around flooding. Citizens can call 1-866-246-0133 for emergency information.
- More than 2,200 people had been evacuated from 114 health care facilities along the coast
- DHEC had assessed 262 dams in the projected path of the storm. Some 30 dams in the projected path are being monitored
As the path of Tropical Storm Florence approaches, residents should continue to monitor local media and official, verified social media accounts from public safety agencies for the latest information on the South Carolina Emergency Management Division's website at www.scemd.org.
Check back for more updates.