CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston city leaders urged residents to stay home Friday during the landfall of Hurricane Ian so first responders can focus on keeping residents safe.
Forecasters said Friday morning that Tropical Storm Ian was expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane Friday before it makes landfall on the South Carolina coast.
“But I would say that given the alignment of its direction into Charleston and the Lowcountry, you’re not going to know the difference,” Tecklenburg said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon. “It’s going to feel like a hurricane around here. We are taking the storm seriously and we need our citizens to be prepared.”
Police Chief Luther Reynolds said the police department already has resources in place and has put its officers on 12-hour shifts.
“We’re going to do everything possible to make sure that we help people but I just want to emphasize the message that the mayor and others have provided: Please stay home, stay out of harm’s way,” Reynolds said. “We’re gonna have a lot of road closures. There is going to be significant flooding, and we want to make sure that we keep people out of harm’s way.”
The city moved its operations to OPCON 2 Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Charleston County remains under a hurricane watch, a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning, with the National Weather Service anticipating a three-to-five-foot storm surge over the next 48 hours.
Forecasts call for Tropical Storm Ian to make landfall near the South Carolina-Georgia border, although some computer models have shifted that landfall further north. But the projected landfall is expected around high tide, which could increase the flooding risk as the storm dumps rain in the area.
From Friday morning to Friday night, gusty winds, possibly of tropical storm-force with gusts of up to 60 mph are possible.
City offers free parking at 5 garages starting Thursday afternoon
The city will open the following garages to city residents free of charge beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday:
Aquarium Garage – 24 Calhoun Street
East Bay/Prioleau – 25 Prioleau Street
Queen Street – 93 Queen Street
Visitor Center – 63 Mary Street
99 West Edge – 99 West Edge Street
All cars must be removed from the garages by 5 p.m., Saturday.
Anyone who uses the garages must follow the following process:
Vehicles need to be removed by the designated time to be eligible for free parking.
Pull a ticket upon entering
When leaving, press the black “assistance” button on the upper right-hand side of the call box. An attendant will respond to assist you.
State you were parking to avoid flooding.
Provide your name and address when requested.
Insert your ticket into the machine (if you have not already done so)
The attendant will raise the gate for you to exit
No boats, trailers or golf carts will be allowed.
City announces closures
City of Charleston government offices will close at 3 p.m. Thursday and will remain closed all day Friday. Charleston Gaillard Center staff will be released early on Thursday nad will be off Friday and Saturday, with some working from home.
All city recreation programs and activities will be canceled beginning at 3 p.m. and remain canceled through Friday.
The city’s Emergency Management Department is working closely with state and regional officials to monitor the storm’s track and coordinate preparation efforts.
Sandbag distribution extended into Thursday
Sandbag distribution will continue Thursday, September 29 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.
The self-serve pick-up locations are:
Bee’s Landing Recreation Center, 1580 Ashley Garden Blvd. (West Ashley)
Hampton Park parking lot on the corner of Ashley Ave. and Mary Murray Dr. (peninsula)
Seven Farms Drive behind Governor’s Park Dog Park, Under I-526 (Daniel Island)
Grace Bridge Street parking lot between America and East Bay streets (peninsula)
Sandbag locations with town of James Island:
James Island Town Hall, 1122 Dills Bluff Rd. (James Island)
There is a limit of 10 sandbags per residence. To purchase additional sandbags, citizens should contact a local home hardware store.
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