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Hurricane Irma: “Leave Now If You Can” (9/7/17)



It’s clear that Hurricane Irma will have an impact on South Carolina – to what extent, we still don’t know. Despite that uncertainty, state officials are certainly not taking a “wait-and-see” approach. The message from both state and county press conferences was consistent – evacuation may be necessary and is highly encouraged.

Officials have requested that you leave now if you can. Gov. Henry McMaster said today he is almost certain he will order a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties by 10 am on Saturday. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to leave.

Officials said they are preparing for Category 3 winds by late Sunday and expect landfall in or close to South Carolina by late Monday/early Tuesday. Winds and storm surge are the biggest concerns right now. Irma is expected to be more dangerous than Hurricane Matthew, which hit the area in October.


As you prepare, you may find this info helpful:


  • Click here to see all evacuation routes
  • Officials strongly suggest that people follow evacuation routes and not rely on GPS units as roads/routes may be closed along the way
  • Bring whatever you may need because there is no guarantee when you may be able to return home
  • Charleston residents will be able to leave their cars in city parking garages starting at 5 pm on Friday. There is no charge to do so.



  • Water and gas are the biggest priorities for people right now. Expect stores to sell out of water and plan for long lines at gas stations. Many stores that have sold out of water, are expecting more shipments throughout the week
  • Create an emergency kit
  • Have a family communication plan
  • Create an evacuation plan – where will you go, do they accept pets, how will you get there?
    • Make appropriate plans for your pets!
  • Take a look at SCEMD’s Hurricane Guide
  • Secure power, gas, and water utilities
  • Secure items in yard (trash/recycling and building openings and utilities)
  • Consult this checklist
  • And this checklist too


  • South Carolina
  • Berkeley Co.
    • Sandbags available (while supplies lasts) at:
      • Town of Moncks Corner Fire Department: 118 Carolina Avenue, Moncks Corner, SC
      • Whitesville Fire Department: 115 Sunview Avenue, Moncks Corner, SC
      • C& B Fire Department: 509 Royle Road, Ladson, SC
      • Moncks Corner Rural Fire Department: 1201 Edward Dr, Moncks Corner, SC
      • Hannahan City Hall Gymnasium on Yeamans Hall Road
        • Friday, September 8th 11 am – 7 pm
        • Saturday, September 9th 9 am – 1 pm
        • Click here for more details
  • Charleston Co.
    • State of Emergency has been declared
    • Charleston County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said the county would likely institute curfews
  • City of Charleston
    • The City Council passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency
    • The city’s non-emergency Citizen’s Information Hotline is 843-973-7219
    • Mayor John Tecklenburg says shelter locations will be announced when (and if) an evacuation order is given
    • If the city is damaged severely enough, officials may require proof of residence for people trying to get back into certain areas of the city
    • CARTA will run Friday, but service could stop Saturday
    • Comcast offers free wireless Internet access in Charleston area ahead of Irma (Post & Courier).
    • The city will have a limited number of free sandbags available. Pick-up locations:
      • Bees Ferry Fire Station at 1985 Bees Ferry Road
      • Milford Street Public Works Operations Complex at 2150 Milford Street
        • Enter the first gate on the right and proceed to the rear of the complex
      • Sand and bags will be available for people to build their own sandbags at two places in James Island locations. Residents should bring their own shovels
        • Dock Street Park, 1433 Patterson Avenue
        • James Island Youth Soccer Fields, 871 Fort Johnson Rd
          • A limit of 10 sandbags per household
  • City of North Charleston
    • Sandbag distribution will take place on Friday, September 9th from 9 am to 2 pm at the Public Works facility located at 5800 Casper Padgett Way.
  • Dorchester County
    • A limited number of sandbags will be available for pickup at these locations
  • Folly Beach
    • If an evacuation of Folly Beach is ordered, the city will implement these rules:
      • Residents and property owners will need two forms of identification to get back on the Island
      • Island employees must have a city-issued re-entry pass and employee credentials
      • Property managers, real estate agents and brokers must have proof of state license and city business license
    • Residents of the island should plan to get their own sandbags
    • Sign up for alerts here
  • Isle of Palms
    • If there is an evacuation, residents will need a re-entry sticker to get back on the island.
      • To get a sticker, bring proof of residency and vehicle registration to the IOP Police Department/Public Safety Bldg. at 30 J.C. Long Blvd.
      • The city tweeted that 2017 Resident Parking Decals will also serve as Hurricane re-entry stickers
      • They also tweeted that Wild Dunes Resident Stickers will also serve as Hurricane re-entry stickers.
    • You can register for Alerts or Special Assistance here
    • If you have any questions, call the Non-emergency number: 843-886-6522


  • See a full list of closings here
  • College of Charleston
    • Classes canceled Friday, September 8th. More announcements expected later.
  • Charleston Southern University
    • Campus is now closed. Sports events, campus activities, and campus visits are canceled until further notice. There is a mandatory evacuation for resident students (including those in the Wingate hotel) by noon Friday, September 8th. Click here for more.
  • The Citadel
    • The Citadel will be evacuated Friday
    • The Citadel’s football game against Presbyterian College has been moved to Clinton, SC
    • Many activities have been postponed or canceled
    • Click here for details
  • Trident Technical College
    • Classes will close at 3 pm on Friday, September 8th and will remain closed until further notice.
  • A few events have already been postponed or canceled. Click here to see them.
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