COLUMBIA - South Carolina residents are being warned to prepare now for possible strong wind gusts, dangerous flash flooding and a chance of tornadoes as the remnants of powerful Hurricane Michael track inland.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday that South Carolina remains in a state of emergency due to continued flooding from Hurricane Florence and the potential impact from Hurricane Michael. Forecasters believe Hurricane Michael will weaken to a tropical storm and begin affecting the state beginning Thursday.
“We know that Hurricane Michael is going to mean high winds in parts of the state and will bring the possibility of dangerous flash flooding along with it," McMaster said. "Team South Carolina is ready, but every South Carolinian needs to be prepared to drive safely and listen to local officials’ direction regarding personal preparedness and potential impact to your areas.”
South Carolina residents and visitors in potentially vulnerable areas should continue to monitor the official forecasts for Hurricane Michael from the National Hurricane Center, S.C. Emergency Management Director Kim Stenson said. All official recommendations concerning personal safety will be based on the best available information from the local National Weather Service offices and in coordination with local and state public safety officials, Stenson said.
According to the SCEMD director, residents should take the following safety precautions:
- Have a plan for where you will go if conditions become too unsafe to remain in your home.
- Create your emergency plan by visiting scemd.org or downloading the S.C. Emergency Manager mobile app: http://onelink.to/dn92rx.
- Have an emergency kit with items such as: bottled water, non-perishable food and flashlights with extra batteries. Refer to the preparedness checklists in the 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide.
- Include items for your pets in your emergency kit.
- Prepare your home or business by securing any items you have in your yard and taking them indoors.
- The probability of power outages is increased due to tropical storm force winds.
- Make sure you have some cash in case of power outages.
- Frequently monitor weather conditions and be aware that tornadoes are likely spawned during a hurricane or tropical storm.
- If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Take 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.
- In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch and cover your head. Do not attempt to outdrive a tornado.
- Keep all of your important papers in a watertight bag.
- Check with your pharmacy to make sure all important medications are filled.
The storm's path is projected to impact most of the state, with many counties under a tropical storm warning and flash flood watch. Residents should continue to monitor local media and official, verified social media accounts from public safety agencies for the latest information.
“While we will not see the full force of Hurricane Michael ... , we could see gusty winds, rain, flash flooding and even tornadoes,” Stenson said. “Over the next day, it will be vital for everyone to be prepared to act if told to do so by your local public safety officials.”