LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order Wednesday afternoon ahead of potential impacts from Ian.
The Governor declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s emergency operations plan. The emergency order lifts certain state regulations and allows the state to draw down federal disaster funds if necessary.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida around 3:05 p.m. as a category four hurricane near Cayo Costa.
South Carolina is expected to see impacts from the storm as early as Friday morning. The Governor said the state is ready and urged South Carolinians to prepare as well.
“We do have time now for people to make those arrangement and decisions. We don’t think it’s going to be as bad as some we’ve seen but we think it’s going to be worse than some we’ve seen,” McMaster said.
No evacuation orders have been issued at this time. Governor McMaster said, “It’s not necessary based on all the information we have. It’s the expert opinion and common sense opinion as well that it’s not necessary to evacuate. An evacuation entails a lot of disruptions,” he said.
The Governor also said any decisions to close schools or government offices will be left up to local leaders at this time.
According to officials, every part of the state could be impacted by Ian. Meteorologist John Quagliariello National Weather Service in Columbia said, “It’s really important not to focus on the intensity of the storm. It could be a tropical storm or a weaker hurricane. We really need to focus on the expected impacts across the state.”
Qaugliariello went on to say, “We expect some higher winds. We expect some areas to see flash flooding. We expect to see high water to come in from the ocean inundating parts of the coasts and isolated tornadoes.”
Officials say there could be some sporadic power outages but there are no fuel issues expected.
The state Emergency Management Division said they have moved to Operational Condition Level Two.