Tri-County authorities moving to OPCON 4 to monitor weekend flood threat

Tri-County authorities moving to OPCON 4 to monitor weekend flood threat

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The chief of Charleston County's Emergency Management Department said the agency is moving to OPCON 4 at 5 p.m. as it monitors the threat for heavy rains and flooding into the weekend.

"The main concern is with heavy rains we've been seeing," Charleston County EMD Chief Cathy Haynes said. Haynes insisted the rain is "totally unrelated" to Hurricane Joaquin, which has increased in strength to a Category 4 storm that is expected to pass well off the Lowcountry coast.

Forecasters expect the cold front that has been dumping rain over the area to meet deep moisture pulled up from the hurricane as it moves north through the Atlantic, increasing the amount of rain. Some models have predicted up to a foot of rain through Saturday night.

The Charleston County EMD is monitoring the threat of severe weather in the Charleston County region and will move to an OPCON 4 at 5 p.m., Haynes said. Berkeley and Dorchester County departments will also move to OPCON 4, county spokesman Shawn Smetana said.

OPCON 4, which means refers to the county's operating condition, means there is the possibility of an emergency or disaster situation that may require a partial or full activation of the Charleston County Emergency Operations Center.

Haynes said there are no plans to open any shelters at this time, but if that becomes necessary, the county will work with the American Red Cross.

This is a developing story.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.