City of Charleston declares state of emergency ahead of Idalia
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City of Charleston leaders have issued a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon, a day before the effects of Hurricane Idalia will begin in the city.
Mayor John Tecklenburg said Charleston City Council made the declaration to be consistent with a statewide state of emergency Gov. Henry McMaster announced earlier in the day.
“Here’s the bottom line, folks. We hope to not have a big impact from this storm,” Tecklenburg said. “But tomorrow night, there’s no reason to be out. Let’s get home, hunker down and be safe. Let’s not put our first responders at risk.”
City of Charleston Emergency Management Director Ben Almquist said the latest forecast places the most likely arrival time for Idalia over the Charleston area at around 8 p.m. Wednesday night, but that tropical storm-force winds could begin arriving Wednesday morning.
“We are still going to feel the impacts of a king tide. That’s going to be tomorrow night at about 8:24 p.m.,” Almquist said. “ So that will coincide with the arrival of tropical storm-force winds and we know we’re going to have heavy rains come throughout the area as well. So this is going to be a significant flooding event for the Charleston area.”
The Charleston City Council unanimously approved a number of emergency ordinances, including authorizing the mayor to issue a curfew if needed and prohibiting traffic along the peninsula and in flood-prone areas.
Almquist said the city will be operating in operative condition 2, which means they’ll use additional personnel from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday to monitor conditions. Plus, an overnight watch team will be issued.
Tecklenburg said the city has given out thousands of sandbags and said the city would continue sandbag distribution Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the same three locations:
- Bees Landing Recreation Center, 1580 Ashley Gardens Boulevard
- James Island Town Hall, 1122 Dills Bluff Road
- Hampton Park (parking lot near baseball field), 30 Mary Murray Drive
The mayor also said city-owned parking garages would be available for free parking for cars only, not boats, trailers of golf carts. In order to take advantage of the free storm parking, cars must be parked after 10 a.m. on Wednesday and removed by 11 a.m. on Thursday:
- Aquarium parking garage (24 Calhoun Street)
- Visitor Center parking garage (63 Mary Street)
- Queen Street parking garage (93 Queen Street)
- East Bay/Prioleau parking garage (25 Prioleau Street)
- 99 West Edge parking garage (99 West Edge Street)
- Charleston Tech Center parking garage (997 Morrison Drive)
The Charleston Police Department will close the most flood-prone streets starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Idalia was located about 240 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida with wind speeds near 90 mph.
Earlier Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for much of the Lowcountry.
The area is also under a storm surge watch.
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