While state law enforcement officials are shifting many of their officers to those parts of South Carolina facing a bigger threat from Hurricane Florence, that doesn’t mean Beaufort County will fall off their radar, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Thursday afternoon.
In the last hours before the storm slammed into the Carolina coast with winds up to 100 mph, officials were evaluating where the greatest needs for law enforcement resources are on an hour-by-hour basis, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.
“That does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that we’re going to ignore counties like Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton and others in that area. But because of the storm itself, we’re looking at where the greatest need for resources is,” Berry said.
In addition to each area’s local law enforcement, there are more than 600 state troopers and 450 officers from other state agencies deployed throughout the state as of Thursday afternoon, Berry said.
State troopers had been prepped and ready in the medians of roads such as U.S. 278. There also have been trucks filled with traffic cones in the event an evacuation order is issued and lane reversals are necessary. Some of those trucks left Beaufort County on Thursday.
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Capt. Bob Bromage said county law enforcement is still in a state of readiness.
“We still have additional state law enforcement in the area, and we’ll be well-fortified around the clock,” Bromage said Thursday afternoon.
The National Weather Service predicted Thursday afternoon Hurricane Florence would make landfall somewhere around the South Carolina/North Carolina border and continuing to move west throughout both states. Beaufort County is no longer in the storm’s “cone of uncertainty,” but is still expected to experience tropical-storm conditions such as heavy rainfall and powerful winds, according to a meteorologist from the weather service in Charleston.