COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Governor Henry McMaster and his Team South Carolina held a media briefing to update the public on Hurricane Dorian’s potential impact to South Carolina.
“Out in the ocean there’s quite a hurricane. Last we know it’s up to about 185 mph [winds],” McMaster said. “We do not know when it will arrive here or what strength you will have when it arrives here but we are preparing."
McMaster said he spoke with President Donald Trump who offered all federal assistance the state may need. McMaster said he also asked Trump for a federal emergency declaration that will allow for direct federal resources to be accessed by Team South Carolina. He said he expected that declaration to be made soon.
But he said there were no immediate plans for any evacuation orders.
“It’s too early for all of those considerations,” McMaster said. “We’re monitoring around the clock, we have good information coming in, but it’s always subject to change.”
In the meantime, state agencies began mobilizing resources, including approximately 1,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen and 2,000 SCDOT employees.
“The state law enforcement, National Guard and the first responders have been fully mobilized,” McMaster said. “South Carolina Department of Transportation has increased the number of the motorist assistance trucks on our I- 95 and I-26. All of the South Carolina Welcome Centers and rest areas open and staffed 24 hours a day. DHEC has alerted all private dam owners to prepare for notification to lower water levels in advance of significant amounts of rainfall. The Department of Social Services is planning to open their shelters across the state If and as needed.”
National Weather Service Meteorologist John Quagliariello said the latest data shows Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, had maximum sustained wind speeds of 185 mph. It is the the strongest hurricane in modern records for the northwestern Bahamas.
“Dorian is expected to slow near the east coast of Florida Monday night into Tuesday, before starting to turn northward and increasing forward speed,” Quagliariello said. “The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center indicates that Dorian will track just off the South Carolina coast late Wednesday and Thursday, likely still as a powerful hurricane.”
But he said the track can change over the next few days and that even a small change in Dorian’s track would have “large implications” on the potential impacts in South Carolina.
“So this point everyone should be preparing now for potentially significant impacts along the coast Wednesday and Thursday,” Quagliariello said.