BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCSC) - Beaufort County leaders called a news conference to provide an update on preparations the county and municipalities are making for the approach of Hurricane Dorian.
Sheriff P.J. Tanner said that residents are able to move around in the county without any restrictions but warned that this could change as conditions deteriorate.
He urged people who had made the decision not to leave to reconsider.
“If you decided to stay and you’re not going to evacuate, then starting Wednesday evening, Law enforcement will be keeping an eye on you,” he said. He also had a warning for people considering taking advantage of the situation. “We will not tolerate criminal activity. And our deputy sheriff’s and our and our law enforcement, municipal police departments will be out in force.”
The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Warning had Beaufort County under a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch.
A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
Beaufort County’s Public Works Coordination Center was activated as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, County Administrator Ashley Jacobs said. Public Works crews will be checking roads and draining problem areas.
Animal Control officers are responding to emergency cases.
Crews will be pulled from Daufuskie Island as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, she said.
All other county services will run as long as weather permits.
All of Beaufort County fell under Gov. Henry McMaster’s mandatory evacuation order issued on Sunday.
“It’s a very, very unpredictable hurricane,” Tanner said Sunday afternoon before McMaster announced the executive order that called for evacuations in portions of eight coastal South Carolina counties.
Tanner said the county’s primary method of communication with residents is through Nixle, and encouraged anyone who had not signed up for access to do so.
“As I said in my newsletter last week, it is the season,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said during Sunday’s briefing. “And it’s not too early to be prepared. So fill up that duffel bag with the water, the batteries, the things you need. And If you don’t need them this time, you’ll have another opportunity this season.”
Beaufort County switched to OPCON 1, its highest level of emergency preparedness, at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.