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City, state give updates on Hurricane Irma

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Update at 4:55 p.m., with additional sandbag locations, at bottom.

Update at 4:45 p.m.: Dorchester District 4 has announced it will also be closed through Tuesday.

Original report follows:

State, county and city leaders are gearing up for the possibility that Hurricane Irma might hit South Carolina’s coast.

Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Wednesday as the hurricane continued its progress toward the East Coast. The hurricane’s forecast track remains uncertain; no evacuation has been called.

Resources and updates:

Still, McMaster asked South Carolinians to prepare as the hurricane approaches the Southeast in the coming days.

“South Carolina is fortunate to have time to allow us to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall, and it is important that families and individuals in vulnerable areas use that time to review safety plans in case they are needed,” McMaster said on Twitter.

In anticipation of the storm, Charleston County School District, Berkeley County School District and Dorchester District 2 have all said they will be closed Friday through Tuesday. Dorchester District 4 had not made an announcement by press time. 

The National Weather Service issued an advisory that said it is too early to pin down the exact path of Hurricane Irma or the impact it could have on the S.C. coast.

At the latest forecast, heavy rains and tropical weather are expected Sunday night, intensifying into early next week. Hurricane landfall is possible on Monday with winds greater than 100 mph. The Caribbean and Puerto Rico experienced Irma as a Category 5 storm with winds reaching 180 mph.

Flooding, long-period swells, high winds and rip currents are all possible along the coast as Irma gets closer, according to the NWS. The weather service warned that the effects could be felt far inland in South Carolina, similar to when Hurricane Matthew flooded much of the Lowcountry and Midlands in October.

“Everyone across southeast South Carolina and southeast Georgia, especially those in hurricane-prone areas, should have a hurricane plan in place and continue to monitor the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center,” the National Weather Service said.

Charleston preparations

Charleston city leaders, department heads and emergency officials are meeting daily to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall. The city said it continues to closely monitor the hurricane’s track.

“While it is still too soon to know exactly what the impact of the storm may be for our area, residents are encouraged to begin making preparations, including gathering emergency supplies, becoming familiar with evacuation routes and coordinating with family members,” Mark Wilbert, Charleston’s emergency management director, said in a news release.

Charleston City Council will have daily meetings via telephone at 5:30 p.m., beginning today.

Sandbags:

Charleston has 10 free sandbags per household for residents who anticipate flooding. Additional sandbags can be purchased at home and hardware stores. The sandbags may be picked up from:

  • City of Charleston, Bees Ferry Fire Station, 1985 Bees Ferry Road
  • Milford Street Public Works Operations Complex, 2150 Milford St. Enter the first gate on the right and proceed to the rear of the complex.

Charleston and James Island have collaborated for citizens to build their own sandbags at two locations. Residents should bring shovels to:

  • Dock Street Park, 1433 Patterson Ave. Open dawn to dusk.
  • James Island Youth Soccer Fields, 871 Fort Johnson Road. Open dawn to dusk.

Mount Pleasant will deliver 1,400 sandbags to the following locations at noon Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. Each location will have 200 sandbags; once they are gone, the town will not have additional sandbags for distribution.

  • Corner of Royall and Ferry streets
  • Snee Farm U.S. Highway 17 entrance
  • Snee Farm Whipple Road entrance
  • Near Kudzu Bakery (794 Coleman Blvd., near Starbucks)
  • Pearl Street at Ellen Drive
  • Kincade Drive at Majorie Street
  • Whole Foods shopping center, Houston Northcutt Boulevard
  • Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, sand and 1,500 sandbags will be available at a do-it-yourself sandbag area by the oil recycling center at the Public Services Facility at 1355 Sweetgrass Basket Way.

North Charleston is issuing up to eight sandbags per vehicle to residents from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

  • Public Works facility, 5800 Casper Padgett Way.

Berkeley County has sandbags available at the following locations:

  • Town of Moncks Corner Fire Department, 118 Carolina Ave., Moncks Corner.
  • Whitesville Fire Department, 115 Sunview Lane, Moncks Corner.
  • C&B Fire Department, 509 Royle Road, Ladson.
  • Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department, 1020 Oakley Road.
  • Cainhoy Fire Department, 2451 Clements Ferry Road.
  • Lake Moultrie Fire Department, corner of Black Oak and Dawsey Road.
  • Pimlico Fire Department, Old U.S. Highway 52.
  • Macedonia Fire Department, Highway 17A and Harristown Road.
  • Cross Station 2, Old S.C. Highway 6.
  • Longridge Fire Dept, 1382 Longridge Road Ridgeville.

Dorchester County will have limited sandbags available at noon Friday and again at 10 a.m. Saturday, while supplies last or until 5 p.m. Sandbags will be limited to 10 per household:

  • Ashley River Fire Station, 8045 Dorchester Road, Charleston.
  • Dorchester County Fire-Rescue Station 21, 4214 Ladson Road, Ladson.
  • Summerville Fire-Rescue Training Center, 1101 Yancey Street, Summerville.
  • New Harleyville Town Hall (Old Sun Trust Bank Building) 122 W. Main St., Harleyville.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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