Gov. Nikki Haley Announces Evacuation of Georgetown & Horry Areas

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Release Courtesy of Derrec Becker
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Emergency Management Division
Released on October 6th, 2016

COLUMBIA,S.C. (Thursday, October 5, 2016) – As Hurricane Matthew continues to threaten the southeastern United States, Governor Nikki Haley today ordered an evacuation of coastal areas in and around Horry and Georgetown, South Carolina.

Residents and visitors in certain parts of Horry and Georgetown Counties should begin evacuating no later than 12:00 PM TODAY, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6.

To verify whether you are located in an evacuation zone, please visit www.scemd.org and click, “Know your Zone,” to enter your home address. Evacuation details, by region, are listed below and detailed via an interactive map at that South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website. Maps of coastal evacuation routes, including interactive and downloadable maps, are available at the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) website.

The scope of the evacuation may be expanded to include other areas as recommended by local officials. South Carolina residents, especially those who live in low-lying areas along the entire coast, should monitor the status of Hurricane Matthew through local news media.
Evacuees should pack the following essential items in case the evacuation period is lengthy: required medications, adequate clothing and essential personal items. Individuals and families should make plans to stay in hotels, with family, friends or other trusted loved ones living outside evacuation areas.

Emergency shelters have been opened throughout the state for people with nowhere else to stay. The majority of shelters do not allow pets, owners should have a plan to board pets with veterinarians, kennels, or other facilities in non-vulnerable areas. A list of open shelters, including the two pet friendly shelters, is available as part S.C. Emergency Management Division’s Hurricane Matthew online information at: www.scemd.org.

People who live in the following coastal areas should evacuate immediately:

Northern South Carolina Coast

Georgetown County Zone A
Areas East of Highway 17 to the Atlantic Ocean from the South Santee River and North to the Horry County line, including Sandy Island; areas East of Dawhoo Lake and South of Walker Road and Powell Road to the South Santee River; all low-lying areas along the Waccamaw River, Great Pee Dee River, Black River, and Sampit River South of Highway 521 (17A), including Maryville; and all mobile home residents in the County.

Horry County Zone A
All areas east of U.S. Business 17 (Kings Highway), up to intersection with U.S. 17 (Kings Highway) and then all areas east of US 17 (Kings Highway) to the northern county line.

Today’s announcement expands the areas along the South Carolina coast under the Governor’s evacuation order.

South Carolina’s emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Anyone with questions Hurricane Matthew should call the Public Information Phone System at 1-866-246-0133.

For all of the latest information about Hurricane Matthew, visit scemd.org.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Man on Malicious Injury to Personal Property Charges

Brandon Leon Payne

Brandon Leon Payne

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla man on an outstanding warrant this morning in relation to a September 1st incident in which a Seneca woman was also arrested.

36 year old Brandon Leon Payne of John Smith Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 6:37am by a deputy from the Warrants Division after turning himself in.

On Tuesday, 23 year old Courtney Jane Pittman of E. Sirrine Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:22pm by a deputy from the Warrants Division also on charges of Malicious Injury to Personal Property.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the John Smith Road address the evening of September 1st in regards to a disturbance in which two vehicles, a Honda Accord and a Ford Expedition, were damaged.

Deputies were able to speak with both Pittman and Payne and began an investigation in which evidence was gathered. The case was then forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division.

Based upon the evidence that was gathered during the course of the investigation, deputies had probable cause to charge both Pittman and Payne in the incident as Pittman used her vehicle, the Expedition, to strike the Honda Accord, causing over $2,000 in damage.

Payne is also charged with causing less than $2,000 in damage to the Expedition by striking Pittman’s vehicle with an object.

Pittman was released from the Detention Center Tuesday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Payne was released from the Detention Center earlier today on a $2,120 personal recognizance bond. The Malicious Injury to Personal Property charge against Payne is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in prison and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Woman on Outstanding Drug Warrants

Brittney Gail Wood

Brittney Gail Wood

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla woman on two outstanding drug warrants yesterday related to the twelfth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep from December of 2015.

33 year old Brittney Gail Wood was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around Noon after being transported from Arrendale State Prison in Alto, GA back to Oconee County by a deputy from the Warrants Division.

According to arrest warrants obtained by agents from the Narcotics Division in 2015, Wood’s address was listed as Boomdocks Drive. The Detention Center listed her address yesterday as Key Lane in Lakemont, GA.

According to the arrest warrants, Wood was charged with distributing a quantity of Ice (Methamphetamine) on two separate occasions, once on February 25th, 2015 and again on March 2nd, 2015, to an undercover operative working at the direction of the Sheriff’s Office at an address in Walhalla.

As of 9am this morning, Wood was being held at the Detention Center on a combined $30,000 surety bond.

With Wood’s arrest, the Sheriff’s Office has arrested a total of 17 individuals of the 19 that were being sought as part of the twelfth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Warns Citizens to Be Aware of Sweepstakes Scams

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, in its continuing efforts to educate and inform our citizens of various types of scams, is warning our citizens today to be aware of sweepstake scams.

“We always say that if something sounds too good to be true, more often than not it is,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “That is true when it comes to sweepstake scams. Even though there are companies that operate legitimate contests and sweepstakes, there are individual(s) that use something that seems legitimate to steal your hard earned money.”

Recently, a citizen of Oconee County lost thousands of dollars in a sweepstake scam in which the victim received a package, claiming to be Publishers Clearing House, in the mail saying the victim won $1.6 million dollars. The package contained a check for the winnings along with a letter stating a private attorney had been appointed to the victim by PCH. The victim also received a call from the subject as well with instructions on how the victim could receive the award.

The letter asked the victim to pay taxes on her winnings. The victim then made arrangements to transfer the money and did so to an address in California. The subject called the victim back and requested more money to cover taxes on the winnings.

The victim agreed to wire more money to the address in California but became suspicious and contacted Publisher Clearinghouse, who informed the victim that the documents the victim received in the mail were not legitimate. The victim contacted the bank and the second wire transfer was cancelled. The victim’s bank and the Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation. Federal authorities also have become involved as well.

“Once money is lost in a scam, it is virtually impossible to recover funds that are lost,” says PIO Watt. “And that is regardless of the scam. After doing a little bit of research, I discovered a few items for citizens to be aware of when it comes to these sweepstakes scams:

• If you are asked to send money in order to claim a sweepstakes prize or someone contacts you over the phone, saying they are from a sweepstakes company, notifying you that you have won or regarding your prize, it is a scam. By calling a number back that is tied to a scam, you could set yourself up for future scams. You can always Google a number to see if a number has been tied to a scam.
• Always be wary of anyone who asks you to pay any fees on a prepaid card. Legitimate businesses and organizations do not require any payments using prepaid cards.
• Never provide any type of personal or financial information to anyone you do not know, such as social security numbers or account or routing numbers.
• Bear in mind that most if not all the time, you have to enter a sweepstakes in order to win one. Be wary of receiving a correspondence via the telephone, text messages, social media or e-mail notifications (for major prizes) or letters delivered by regular mail.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Woman on Malicious Injury to Personal Property Charges

Brandon Leon Payne

Brandon Leon Payne

Courtney Jane Pittman

Courtney Jane Pittman

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca woman yesterday on charges of Malicious Injury to Personal Property charges related to an incident that occurred on September 1st.

The Sheriff’s Office also has an outstanding warrant on a Walhalla man on Malicious Injury to Personal Property charges related to the same incident.

23 year old Courtney Jane Pittman of E. Sirrine Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:22pm by a deputy from the Warrants Division.

The individual still wanted by deputies is 36 year old Brandon Leon Payne of John Smith Road.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the John Smith Road address the evening of September 1st in regards to a disturbance in which two vehicles, a Honda Accord and a Ford Expedition, were damaged.

Deputies were able to speak with both Pittman and Payne and began an investigation in which evidence was gathered. The case was then forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division.

Based upon the evidence that was gathered during the course of the investigation, deputies had probable cause to charge both Pittman and Payne in the incident as Pittman used her vehicle, the Expedition, to strike the Honda Accord, causing over $2,000 in damage.

Payne is also charged with causing less than $2,000 in damage to the Expedition by striking Pittman’s vehicle with an object.

Pittman was released from the Detention Center yesterday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. The charge against Pittman carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine with the amount determined in the discretion of the court.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Fair Play Man on Drug Charges

Steven Lunceford

Steven Lunceford

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Fair Play man on drug charges for trafficking in methamphetamine.

47 year old Steven Lunceford of Old Knox Bridge Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:42pm Monday by an agent from the Narcotics Division.

During the time period between April 27th and June 21st of this year, agents from the narcotics division conducted an investigation and made a series of drugs buys from Lunceford from an address on West-Oak Highway.

During this time period, agents purchased around 126.9 grams of methamphetamine. As a result of the investigation and the drug buys that occurred, agents obtained an arrest warrant on Lunceford on charges of Trafficking in Methamphetamine.

As of 2:45pm this afternoon, Lunceford remains in custody at the Detention Center on a $50,000 surety bond.

The Trafficking in Methamphetamine charges against Lunceford is a felony that carries a penalty of 25 years in prison and a fine of $50,000.

Duke Energy and County Officials to test sirens around Oconee Nuclear Station on Wednesday, October 12th

 Three-minute test scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, at approximately 11:50 a.m.
 No public action required.

Oconee Nuclear Station

Oconee Nuclear Station

Release Courtesy of Chris Rimel
SC Nuclear Communications Manager

SENECA, S.C. – The public alert notification sirens around the Oconee Nuclear Station will be tested on Wednesday, October 12, at approximately 11:50 a.m.

The 65 sirens within 10 miles of the Oconee Nuclear Station will be tested for three-minutes to assure each siren works properly. This full-cycle siren test is performed once each quarter in cooperation with emergency officials in Oconee and Pickens counties, who are responsible for sounding the sirens.

Hearing a siren does not mean to evacuate. In an emergency, sirens are sounded as a signal for residents to tune to a local radio or TV station that would carry an emergency alerting message. County officials use these stations to provide information to the public. If sirens are heard and residents are unsure if it is a test or an emergency, they should tune to their local radio or TV station.

For more information about the public alert notification sirens, residents can refer to information available on www.duke-energy.com.

Duke Energy Carolinas
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas, renewables and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to about 2.5 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a S&P 100 Stock Index company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.
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Gov. Nikki Haley Announces Evacuation of Charleston and Beaufort Areas

Traffic Lanes of I-26 Will Be Reversed

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Release Courtesy of Derrec Becker
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Emergency Management Division
Released on October 5th, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As Hurricane Matthew threatens the southeastern United States, Governor Nikki Haley today ordered an evacuation of coastal areas in and around Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina
Residents and visitors in Charleston and Beaufort Counties should begin evacuating no later than 3:00 PM TODAY, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5. Residents and visitors in certain parts of bordering coastal counties – Berkeley, Colleton, Dorchester and Jasper Counties – should begin evacuating no later than 3:00 PM TODAY, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5.
To verify whether you are located in an evacuation zone, please visit www.scemd.org and click, “Know your Zone,” to enter your home address. Evacuation details, by region, are listed below and detailed via an interactive map at that South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website.
Maps of coastal evacuation routes, including interactive and downloadable maps, and information about highways where lane reversals will be used as a part of the evacuation are available at the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) website.
Beginning around noon today, South Carolina Department of Public Safety, SCDOT and supporting agencies will begin closing eastbound lanes of I-26, starting in Columbia at I-77 heading towards Charleston. At approximately 3:00 PM, all lanes on I-26 will be moving westbound from I-526 in Charleston toward I-77 in Columbia. Travel will only be possible in one direction while the evacuation is in progress. Complete lane reversal information is available here.
The scope of the evacuation may be expanded to include other areas tomorrow, including parts of Horry and Georgetown. South Carolina residents, especially those who live in low-lying areas along the entire coast, should monitor the status of Hurricane Matthew through local news media.
Evacuees should pack the following essential items in case the evacuation period is lengthy: required medications, adequate clothing and essential personal items. Emergency shelter locations will be announced as soon as they are open.
Individuals and families should plan to board pets with veterinarians, kennels, or other facilities in non-vulnerable areas. Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters.
People who live in the following coastal areas should evacuate immediately:
Central South Carolina Coast
Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley County Evacuation Zones A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and I
Zone A: West of the Ashley River – Unincorporated areas of Charleston County from the Ashley River to the Colleton County line; Atlantic Ocean to the Dorchester County Line. This includes the Town of Hollywood, Town of Meggett, Town of Ravenel, Town of Folly Beach, Town of Rockville, Town of Kiawah Island, the Town of Seabrook Island, James Island, Johns Island, Wadmalaw, and unincorporated Charleston County.
Zone B: Central Charleston – From the tip of the Peninsula to Ladson Road; from the Ashley River to the Wando River. This includes City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, the Town of Lincolnville, Daniel Island, Thomas Island, and unincorporated Charleston County.
Zone C: East of the Wando River – Unincorporated areas of Charleston County from the Atlantic Ocean to the Berkeley County line; Wando River to the Georgetown County line. This includes the Town of Mt. Pleasant, Town of Isle of Palms, Town of Sullivan’s Island, Town of Awendaw, the Town of McClellanville, Dewees Island, Capers Island, and Goat Island.
Zone D: Sand Hills Area – West of Dorchester Road and the Ashley River, 17A to the Colleton County line and all areas bordering Charleston County.
Zone E: Miles Jamison/Oakbrook Area – Miles Jamison Road, between Ladson Road, to Bacons Bridge Road: including the Lakes of Summerville, Newington Plantation, Crestwood Subdivision south to Orangeburg Road, and South Main Mobile Home Park.
Zone F: The Swamp – Any other low-lying areas including the Cypress Swamp area, the Edisto River area and the Twin Lakes Subdivision.
Zone G:
a. Hanahan
1. North of Woods Ave from end of road at east edge of rail yard to its intersection with Remount Rd.
2. North of Remount Rd from its intersection with Woods Ave to its intersection with the railroad tracks just west of Dutton Ave.
3. East of the railroad tracks from their intersection with Remount Rd to crossing over the Goose Creek (just south of Middle Earth Nursery and Infinger Furniture).
b. Goose Creek/Ladson/Summerville
1. Including all homes and businesses northeast of the intersection of Hwy 52 and Camelot Dr, continuing along Ryan Dr and Holly Ave across to Westview Blvd (includes buildings on both sides of Camelot Dr, Ryan Dr and Holly Ave).
2. Crowfield Plantation from Westview Blvd near Holly Ave across I-26 along Ancrum Rd to its intersection with Hwy 78.
3. Northeast of Hwy 78 from its intersection with Ancrum Rd (Ladson Rd) to its intersection with Hwy 17A (Main St) in Summerville.
4. Southeast of Hwy 17A (Main St/S Live Oak Dr) from its intersection with Hwy 78 to its intersection with Cypress Gardens Rd.
c. Whitesville/Pimlico/Cordesville
1. South of Cypress Gardens Rd from its intersection with Hwy 17A (S Live Oak Dr) to its intersection with Pimlico Blvd.
2. South of Pimlico Blvd from its intersection with Cypress Gardens Rd through to its end.
3. The area east of Wappaoolah Plantation and west of the Cooper River, north of Pimlico Blvd and south of Mepkin Abbey.
4. Southeast of the railroad tracks from the Cooper River by Pimlico to its intersection with Hwy 402.
d. Huger/Cainhoy/Wando
1. South of Hwy 402 from its intersection with the railroad tracks near Cordesville to its intersection with Hwy 41 (Hwy 402 becomes Steed Creek Rd).
2. Southwest of Steed Creek Rd from its intersection with Hwy 41 to its intersection with Halfway Creek Rd. West of Halfway Creek Rd from its intersection with Steed Creek Rd to its intersection with Guerins Bridge Rd.
3. West of Guerins Bridge Rd from its intersection with Halfway Creek Rd to its intersection with Wando River (just after Drew Ln).
4. Northwest of the Wando River from its intersection with Guerins Bridge Rd to its intersection with Nowell Creek with the addition of Patterson’s Academy.
5. North/northeast of Nowell Creek from its intersection with the Wando River to its intersection with Rebellion Farms Pl.
6. Northeast of Rebellion Farms Pl from its intersection with Nowell Creek to its intersection of Clements Ferry Rd.
7. Northeast of Yellow House Pl from its intersection with Clements Ferry Rd to the Cooper River (across from the Goose Creek).
Zone I
a. Shulerville, Honey Hill, Jamestown, Alvin, St Stephen
1. East of Halfway Creek Rd from its intersection with Forest Rd 200 (on the Berkeley/ Charleston county line) to its intersection with Slash Rd.
2. East of Slash Rd from its intersection with Halfway Creek Rd to its intersection with Yellow Jacket Rd.
3. North of Yellow Jacket Rd from its intersection with Slash Rd to its intersection with Horse Island Rd.
4. East of Horse Island Rd from its intersection with Yellow Jacket Rd to its intersection with Tiger Corner Rd.
5. Northeast of Tiger Corner Rd from its intersection with Horse Island Rd to its intersection with Hwy 17A.
6. North of Hwy 17A from its intersection with Tiger Corner Rd to its intersection with Greenwood Dr.
7. East of Greenwood Dr (becomes Peaceful Woods Rd) from its intersection with Hwy 17A to its intersection with Schurlknight Rd.
8. Southeast of Schurlknight Rd from its intersection with Peaceful Woods Rd to its intersection with Hwy 45.
9. Northeast of Hwy 45 from its intersection with Schurlknight Rd to its intersection with Belle Isle Rd.
10. East of Belle Isle Rd from its intersection with Hwy 45 to the Santee River.
11. Southwest of the Santee River from Belle Isle Rd to its intersection with the Berkeley/ Charleston county line.
12. Northwest of the Berkeley-Charleston county line from its intersection with the Santee River to its intersection with Halfway Creek Rd.
Southern Coast Evacuation Zones
Colleton County Evacuation Zone A
All areas south of the CSX Railroad, and all mobile homes and other floodplain areas in the County.
Beaufort County Evacuation Zone A
All residents and tourists in Beaufort County are to evacuate.
Jasper County Evacuation Zone A
Zone A – All areas east of I-95 and all mobile homes and other floodplain areas in the county.
For all of the latest information about Hurricane Matthew, visit scemd.org.

Governor Nikki Haley Urges Residents to Prepare for Hurricane Matthew

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Release Courtesy of Derrec Becker
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Emergency Management Division
Released on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Nikki Haley today issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency and asked residents to prepare for a potential evacuation of the South Carolina coast in advance of any impact from Hurricane Matthew.
As state officials continue to monitor weather conditions, the governor will update residents about preparations for Hurricane Matthew, including the need for an evacuation of coastal areas, during a news conference tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5, at 9:00 AM.
Schools and county and state government offices in the following counties will be closed starting Wednesday, October 5, 2016: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Beaufort, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lexington, Marlboro, Marion, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties.
Residents in the following evacuation zones should make preparations for a potential evacuation beginning at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5, 2016:
Beaufort: Zone A, Entire county
Jasper: A and B
Colleton: A Only
Charleston: A, B, C
Dorchester: B, D, E, and F
Berkeley: A, B, C, G, and I
Horry: A only
Georgetown: A only
Know Your Zone: Your zone is how you will know to evacuate and which evacuation route to use. This information is detailed in the 2016 S.C. Hurricane Guide and available via in interactive map at scemd.org/knowyourzone.
Prepare to evacuate: Residents preparing to evacuate tomorrow should become familiar with evacuation routes, which are marked with special signs. Consider where you will stay once you evacuate. Options include: a hotel, motel, or friend’s home that is outside the vulnerable area or an American Red Cross shelter. Hotels and motels fill up quickly and out-of-county evacuations take time. Emergency shelters will be announced as soon as they are open.
Fuel cars, keep supplies in vehicles, secure important documents: If the storm approaches South Carolina, individuals and families should fill up their cars with gas. Road maps, nonperishable snack foods, a first-aid kit that includes a supply of your family’s prescription medications, and convenience items such as diapers should be available in the car. Secure important documents in waterproof packaging.
Consider the safety of pets: Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters. Individuals and families should plan to board pets with veterinarians, kennels, or other facilities in non-vulnerable areas. Identification and rabies tags should be attached to the pets’ collars.
If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch, a hurricane will be possible within 48 hours, and residents who live in vulnerable areas should stay tuned. If a hurricane warning is issued, a hurricane is expected within 36 hours. If you live in a highly vulnerable area and are advised to evacuate, you should be prepared to leave immediately. The state urges individuals and families to do the following:
Everyone in South Carolina is urged to continue to monitor the developing forecasts from the National Hurricane Center through local news media and trusted sources online. Pay attention to emergency warnings from local and state public safety officials and take safety actions if instructed to do so.
South Carolina’s Emergency Response Team is operating 24-hours a day from the state’s emergency operations center preparing for hazardous conditions associated with Hurricane Matthew.
For more information visit scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.

South Carolina Should Prepare for Hurricane Matthew

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Release Courtesy of Derrick Becker
Public Information Officer
Released on October 2nd, 2016

Columbia, S.C. (Sunday, October 2, 2016) – The S.C. Emergency Management Division has begun initial preparations for Hurricane Matthew, currently a category four hurricane that could affect the East Coast U.S. in the coming days. Based on the storm’s projected strength and uncertain movement over the next week, SCEMD has recommended that members of South Carolina’s Emergency Response Team begin reviewing plans and notifying response staff.

This weekend, SCEMD Director Kim Stenson conducted conference calls with county emergency managers, SERT agencies and local National Weather Service offices. The agencies on these coordination calls shared current status information and discussed emergency plans in advance of any response to the storm.

“It’s too soon to rule out any possibilities,” Stenson said “Hurricane Matthew has quickly strengthened into a dangerous storm and its projected path could put South Carolina in harm’s way. Fortunately, people in South Carolina have time. While we hope we never see a hurricane head our way, we all need prepare for the possible effects.”

Forecasters with our local NWS offices predict that even if Hurricane Matthew remains at sea, the state’s coast could see tropical storm-force winds and flooding. People in potentially vulnerable areas should review personal safety plans, become familiar local evacuation zones in coastal counties and locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes. This information is detailed in the 2016 S.C. Hurricane Guide, currently available at all Walgreen’s stores statewide, at all rest areas along interstates and for download at scemd.org.

The Division has increased operational readiness to Condition 4. OPCON 4 is the next highest response level above normal, day-to-day activities, and emergency managers make initial preparations for the possibility of any hazardous situations. Select personnel from SCEMD’s Operations and Preparedness sections continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew from the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.