COLUMBIA, S.C. – In coordination with local officials, Governor Henry McMaster announced that evacuation orders have been lifted for all residents in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties, along with Edisto Beach in Colleton county, effective at noon today. At the request of local officials, evacuation orders for zones in Georgetown and Horry counties remain in effect as local law enforcement and officials continue to assess areas for potential dangers. A copy of the governor's executive order can be found here.
Returning residents are encouraged to exercise patience and expect lengthy travel times, blocked roadways, or detours back to evacuated areas and are asked not to drive around barricades or use emergency lanes that are needed for first responders.
While the weather conditions have improved, motorists should be cautious of fallen trees, downed power lines, and standing water in and around roadways. Citizens also should anticipate power outages at their homes or businesses, which may last for several days.
A decision on state government offices and school closings will be made once local emergency management and law enforcement officials have accessed damage and existing shelter needs.
Although Tropical Storm Florence itself no longer presents a threat to these areas, hazardous conditions still exist in many parts of coastal and inland counties:
- Avoid flood waters or standing water. Do not use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water, or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines, or other hazardous debris that may be under the surface.
- There are currently over 170,000 power outages throughout the state. Those without power should not use generators indoors under any circumstances. Running generators in homes, garages, or other closed areas can lead to increased levels of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal and may cause death.
The S.C. Emergency Management Division’s website, http://scemd.org, lists emergency shelter status statewide and is updated in real-time by the S.C. Department of Social Services. Coastal evacuees without internet access are urged to call the PIPS line at 1-866-246-0133 with questions and needed assistance. Local emergency services may be overloaded, residents should call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only
For more information visit http://www.scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.