COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he has no plans at this time to issue an evacuation order or a state of emergency as the state gets ready to deal with possible impacts from Hurricane Isaias.
McMaster spoke Friday from the state's emergency operations center alongside other state officials.
"It looks like it will not be necessary," McMaster told reporters.
Currently Isaias is in the Bahamas and is a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 MPH. Long range forecasts are still uncertain about exactly what the storm will do, but in general, it's believed it will approach Florida then curve northward where it will come up toward the South and North Carolina coastline Monday.
The models have shifted a little bit showing the storm coming closer to shore, which would increase the impacts to the state. A potential landfall in South Carolina cannot be ruled out at this point, although the models do not show the storm pushing into the state.
The storm is also forecast to get stronger in the coming days.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson said his agency has has a lot of experience in recent years dealing with weather emergencies. He said there are plans to potentially open shelters in some areas.
Stenson said they would have a screening process on buses that would include temperatures checks to see if the person may have COVID-19. If they did, they'd be put in an isolation area and put in an alternative shelter area away from others. He said they will have hand sanitzer and personal protective equipment to give to people at shelters.
McMaster admitted it's a challenge dealing with both a hurricane season and a pandemic at the same time.
"That does complicate things and add a layer of complication and expertise," he said.
SCEMD asked people Friday to begin preparations for the storm in case it were to affect the state. Residents should review personal safety plans.
Below is a list provided by SCEMD of steps to take to prepare for possible storms.
- Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, chargers, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
- Prepare your home for tropical storm conditions by making sure gutters are cleaned, storm drains are clear and any lawn furniture can be secured.
- Keep your cell phones and mobile devices charged in case of power outages.
- Gather pet supplies and put them in an easily-accessible container.
- Know Your Zone. Residents in coastal counties can know their hurricane evacuation zone instantly by visiting scemd.org/KnowYourZone or downloading the SC Emergency Manager mobile app.
- Stay tuned to local media for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
- Follow trusted, verified sources for the latest news and be prepared to follow the instructions of state and local public safety officials.
Key state agencies and county emergency managers are making initial preparations for the possibility of any hazardous situations while select personnel from SCEMD’s Operations and Preparedness sections continue to monitor Hurricane Isaias from the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.