South Carolina declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Idalia

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Idalia and its potential impacts on South Carolina.

McMaster said at a press conference on Tuesday this is “out of an abundance of caution” and it allows state agencies to move people and equipment more quickly in addition to removing restrictions that would slow things down.

“Now is the time for South Carolinians to begin making proper preparations, and everyone should be actively monitoring official sources for the most up-to-date information — especially those along our coast and in low-lying areas,” McMaster said.

Hurricane Idalia is rapidly intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center has Idalia as a Category 1 Hurricane and it’s expected to make landfall Wednesday morning as a Category 3 Major Hurricane before eventually passing through the Palmetto State by Wednesday night into Thursday afternoon.

The governor’s office said people in South Carolina should expect high winds, heavy rain, flash flooding, flooding due to storm surges and isolated tornadoes.

Officials also advise people to be prepared for flooding, property damage and power outages.

“Please get your prescriptions, your papers, your pets ready to move,” McMaster said. “Expect to be out of power because these winds knock down limbs and that knocks down powerlines, but all of the power companies, everyone is ready to respond very quickly.”

Some tips from the governor’s office to prepare for Hurricane Idalia and other storms include:

  • Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do in an emergency.
  • Storm surge flooding can be compounded by heavy rainfall. If you’re in a low-lying area or area normally prone to flooding, make sure your emergency plan includes flood precautions.
  • Know where to go if conditions become too unsafe to remain in your home.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
  • Create your emergency plan by visiting or downloading the SC Emergency Manager mobile app:
  • Have an emergency kit with items such as bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights with extra batteries, and chargers for your mobile devices. Refer to the preparedness checklists at Hurricane.SC.
  • Bring pets inside and include items for your pets in your emergency kit.
  • Prepare your home or business by securing any items you have outdoors and taking them indoors.
  • The probability of power outages is increased due to tropical storm-force winds.
  • Frequently monitor weather conditions and be aware that tornadoes are likely to spawn during a hurricane or tropical storm.
  • If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in a house or small building. If there is no basement, go to an interior room on the lowest level. Get under a sturdy table and cover your head. Stay there until the danger has passed.
  • If in a vehicle or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more secure structure. If there is no shelter, lie flat in the nearest ditch and cover your head. Do not attempt to outdrive a tornado.

The executive order also directs the state’s Emergency Management Division to coordinate with all relevant state agencies in preparation for potential requests for state assistance.

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