All of Beaufort County will be under a curfew beginning Wednesday night ahead of when Hurricane Dorian is expected to bring the most rain, wind, and flooding to the area, Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said in a late morning news conference.
The curfew will run from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday and again from 10 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday.
Tanner said if anyone is out “joyriding” through the county, they should expect to be stopped.
“You will be confronted by law enforcement,” he said. The curfew “will be enforced appropriately. They are criminal events, so keep that in mind.”
Local officials are still urging whoever is in the area to evacuate before the curfew, or much sooner, if they can.
“We always encourage evacuation,” Tanner said. “Evacuation is still an opportunity right now.”
Like Hurricane Matthew, but ‘probably a little worse’
Lt. Col. Neil Baxley with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said flooding was likely to occur in the same spots as 2016’s Hurricane Matthew: along Highway 21 at Garden’s Corner, Lady’s Island Airport and Village Creek, as well as U.S. 278 to the west and back of Sun City.
“We’re facing what you saw three years ago, but probably a little worse,” he said.
Baxley also predicted that power failures of “days, not hours” would begin Wednesday evening as tropical-force winds begin to impact the county.
Power crews, as well as the coroner’s office, police and emergency services, will not be able to respond during the storm itself. Once the wind dies down, public works crews will begin clearing roads, prioritizing routes to hospitals and then main and side roads.
Palmetto Breeze will stop transporting people to the Jasper County shelter at 2 p.m. Residents who want to use the service before 2 p.m. can call 843-757-5782.
Joe Mantua, general manager at Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority, said his crews would no longer be able to respond to calls after 4 p.m.
Several parts of the county will also see reduced water flow and possibly lowered pressure as BJWSA preps for the storm.
Among the neighborhoods Mantua said would be affected: Bermuda Bluff; Birdfoot Landing; Callawassie Island; Cat Island; Coosaw Island; Distant Island; Vivian’s Island; Harbor, Hunting and Fripp islands; Horse Island Drive; Kingston Key Drive and Myrtle Island Drive.
Sheriff PJ Tanner said that the most rain, wind and hazards would occur at a “critical” window of 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday.
“This storm looks like it’s really going to give us a problem,” Tanner said.