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SCEMD braces for now Tropical Storm Florence impact

(MSNBC via MGN)

The South Carolina Emergency Response Team continues to track now Tropical Storm Florence and is preparing for all possible impacts.

The storm has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, but still has the capacity to bring record amounts of rain to South Carolina.

The State Emergency Operations Center is fully operational and staffed with emergency personnel from various state agencies and emergency organizations. They will be operational 24 hours a day until further notice.

As of 12 p.m. Friday, the response team has:

  • There were 70 shelters open with 6,338 in shelters
  • Wind gust of 61 miles an hour at Myrtle Beach international Airport
  • DHEC has opened nine special medical needs shelters
  • More than 52,000 power outages in Horry County
  • Some 14,000 sandbags have been delivered to local authorities by the S.C. Department of Corrections
  • Utility and debris cleanup crews are staged
  • Over 660 State Troopers and 450 state law enforcement officers are on duty
  • 3,249 National Guard personnel are on duty
  • The FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is on site
  • Anyone interested in volunteering can go to www.volunteersc.org to register
  • The Public Information Phone System has answered over 6,600 calls, many of the calls today concern issues around flooding. Citizens can call 1-866-246-0133 for emergency information.
  • More than 2,200 people had been evacuated from 114 health care facilities along the coast
  • DHEC had assessed 262 dams in the projected path of the storm. Some 30 dams in the projected path are being monitored

As the storm approaches, SCEMD asks residents who did not evacuate to keep these things in mind:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Be alert. Tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.

Residents should also be prepared for catastrophic flooding throughout much of the state:

  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.

As the path of Hurricane Florence approaches, residents should continue to monitor local media and official, verified social media accounts from public safety agencies. Evacuation shelter locations, emergency information for residents, ways to volunteer and how to donate goods are at scemd.org.

Residents with questions about Hurricane Florence should call the state’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-246-0133.

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