Storm surge 'worse than Hugo' possible for SC coast

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina officials are warning people along the southern coast of South Carolina that they will face a life-threatening storm surge, possibly worse than those experienced during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

"This is a scary storm, we really need you to evacuate," Haley said, adding that the expected storm surge and wind speed projections have increased. "This is getting worse."

"We can't take you by the hand ," Haley said. "I am begging you at this point to understand the serious of this storm...that storm surges at this level are not something that you want to be caught up in."


State leaders said the expected impacts on the state are now worse than previously thought. 

Calling it "dangerous" and "life-threatening," forecasters said those areas south of Charleston all the way to Hilton Head are at greatest risk. The storm surge will be several feet and will cover up some of the islands in the area. At greatest risk are Hilton Head, Folly Beach, Wild Dunes, and several others. 

Flooding is also likely across the Charleston peninsula.


Zone B in Jasper and Colleton Counties, which is a little further off the coast, were added to the evacuation list.

By  3 p.m. Thursday, 280,000 had evacuated, up from 175,000 in the morning. Haley said about 500,000 should evacuate. 

A dramatic example of how serious this is: Beaufort Memorial Hospital has had to evacuate.  

For more evacuation details. go to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division page.


Lane reversals on Interstate 26 will stop Friday as officials redeploy law enforcement officers and SC Department of Transportation resources across the state to respond to the storm.  


Bridges in those areas, including the Ravenel Bridge, will be closed as the winds go up to 40 miles an hour or higher. That will happen sooner than expected, Haley said.


64 shelters are now open, with over 1,000 people in them.

3 pet-friendly shelters are also open

Go to for a list of shelters 


Haley said the state is expecting extended outages. She said the utilities across the state are working to prepare as best they can. 


All hotels are filled across the state, Haley said. 


Inmates are filling 15 to 20,000 sandbags a day. Haley says they will have 50,000 sandbags by Friday.


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