City of Charleston officials feel prepared for significant flooding in downtown area

City of Charleston officials feel prepared for significant flooding in downtown area
Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg makes a last minute plea for people to leave on Wednesday morning

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City of Charleston officials came together Wednesday morning ahead of Hurricane Dorian to reassure citizens that their property is safe while also expressing concern about the flooding that will take place on the peninsula.

Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg referenced the high tide late Wednesday night which is expected to reach 10.3 feet in Charleston harbor, which is four inches above the 9.9 feet during Hurricane Irma.

“If we get the copious amounts of rain that’s projected, especially during those times, when the tide is high, then you know what happens the water has nowhere to go," he said. “It’s going to stick around and add to the water.”

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The Charleston Fire department has staged personnel and resources to assist with storm response including special team response vehicles with small boats and high water vehicles staffed by the National Guard and FEMA boat teams.

“We’re going to have significant flooding. As a result of that flooding we’re going to be closing down a lot of roads,” Charleston police chief Luther Reynolds said. “As we see the flooding, and its pretty predictable which areas that will be, we will begin to close those roads down methodically. It’s going to be extensive the amount of roads closed on the peninsula.”

The city’s department of traffic and transportation has completed a pre-storm signal operations assessment citywide and the signal recovery team stands ready to respond to any outages that may occur.

“I promise you we will be vigilant, we will be present, and we will be making arrests," Reynolds said. "We know from prior storms there are a few people who want to create problems. We will be paying attention to those things as we keep our people and our great city safe.”

During Tuesday’s briefing, Tecklenburg warned people to evacuate ahead of what he called “the triple threat" the storm represented, referring to storm surge, high tide and copious rain that could produce flooding in Charleston and coastal South Carolina.”

“We feel we will have some impact. It’s just a matter of how much,” he said.

“We need everybody who has not yet evacuated to evacuate,” Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said during Tuesday’s briefing. “This is not the time to relax. This is a time to continue to be vigilant.”

The city announced plans to open parking garages for people to park their vehicles for free during Dorian. Garage openings are for cars only, and do not apply to boats or trailers. The Gaillard Center parking garage is reserved for emergency personnel.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the city announced via its Twitter account that it had run out of sandbags.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, area landfills closed and garbage and trash collection has been suspended in all areas of the city until further notice. Citizens are urged to clear any curbside garbage cans and bags and secure any loose yard debris as soon as possible, as these items are likely to block storm drains and inhibit drainage if left out during the storm.

The city of Charleston Citizen Services Desk is staffed to answer citizens’ questions about storm preparations and can be reached at 843-724-7311.

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