As Hurricane Michael eyes up the Carolinas, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an order Wednesday extending the state’s already in effect state of emergency, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
In early September, McMaster issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence, and that declaration has yet to be rescinded, according to the statement.
The new order, issued Wednesday, extends the old one and allows resources necessary for hurricane response and recovery to stay in play in South Carolina.
“We know that Hurricane Michael is going to mean high winds in parts of the state and will bring the possibility of dangerous flash flooding along with it,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Team South Carolina is ready, but every South Carolinian needs to prepared to drive safely and listen to local officials’ direction regarding personal preparedness and potential impact to your areas.”
Forecasters at the National Weather Service said Tuesday that Hurricane Michael could hit parts of South Carolina harder than Hurricane Florence in some ways. While the latest storm isn’t expected to dump as much rain on the Palmetto State as its predecessor, winds are expected to be stronger in some areas.
Additionally, the danger of trees potentially falling in higher due to the already saturated South Carolina soil, forecasters said.
“We are on alert ... and the (state Emergency Operations Center) is fully staffed, and the situation is being monitored very closely,” McMaster told reporters Wednesday. “When it comes time to make announcements, we will be doing that. I’d ask everybody to stay tuned. And, again, pray for the people in Florida. And we will be having conversations with them about how we can be helping them, while we’re still rebuilding ourselves.”
McMaster said areas of the Pee Dee hard hit by Hurricane Florence “are liable to get some more rain,” adding S.C. emergency management officials anticipate heavy rainfall of 2 to 6 inches from Columbia to the Upstate.
Hurricane Michael, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, is expected to hit South Carolina Thursday after crossing Georgia and the Florida panhandle, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Palmetto States will begin feeling its effects Thursday morning, forecasters said.
“While we will not see the full force of Hurricane Michael the way Florida will, we could see gusty winds, rain, flash flooding and even tornadoes,” S.C. Emergency Management Director Kim Stenson said. “Over the next day, it will be vital for everyone to be prepared to act if told to do so by your local public safety officials.”