Hurricane Florence Charleston Update

Curfew and limited access to Folly starts Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Florence

Charleston International Airport officials say they will close airport runways on Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m.

by ABC News 4 | Fri Sept 14th, 2018

At one time forecast to make landfall late Thursday, Hurricane Florence finally made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday morning.



The storm had slowed to a snail's pace in its approach of the Carolinas, all while its damaging winds, flooding rains and a life-threatening storm surge have continued to batter the North Carolina coast for hours.


Just after 6:30 a.m. Friday, the National Hurricane Center said landfall of Hurricane Florence — reduced to a Category 1 overnight — had taken place. The storm's eye reached shore near Wilmington, North.


Florence was moving west-northwest at 6 mph when it made landfall, according to the NHC. Its sustained winds were near 90 mph, 


The storm is expected to take a southwesterly turn across South Carolina through Friday and Saturday, continuing to drop torrential rain while it weakens, loses structure and continues to move inland.


Lane Reversals and Evacuation Routes (All evacuation routes and zones are detailed in the 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide):


The S.C. Department of Public Safety and the S.C. Department of Transportation along with supporting agencies will at noon tomorrow reverse the direction of traffic along certain evacuation routes to ease the flow of traffic away from the coast:


Charleston to Columbia: A full four-lane reversal on I-26 in Charleston will begin at the interchange of I-26 and I-526. The full reversal continues west until the I-26 crossover to I-77 just outside Columbia in Lexington County.


South Carolina’s emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Anyone with questions related to Hurricane Florence should call the Public Information Phone System at 1-866-246-0133.

Emergency Shelters

There are currently no emergency shelters open at this time.  We will continue to update this section as information becomes available.


  • Berkeley Middle School
  • Cane Bay High School - This a pet-friendly location. Citizens must stay with their pets during their time at the shelter. Pet owners are NOT allowed to drop-off their pets at the shelters
  • St. Stephen Elementary


  • Goose Creek High School (primary for Charleston Co residents, but Berkeley Co. residents are welcome as well)


  • Colleton County High School (150 Cougar Nation Drive, Walterboro, SC 29488)


  • DuBose Middle School (pet-friendly, opens at noon) (only allows small, crated, domesticated animals)


  •  Pleasant Hill Elementary School, 127 Schoolhouse Drive, Hemingway, SC 29554.
  •  Andrews Elementary School, 13072 County Line Road, Andrews, SC 29510.


  • C E Murray High School
    222 C E Murray Boulevard
    Greeleyville, SC 29056
  • Kingstree Senior High School
    616 MLK Jr. Avenue
    Kingstree, SC 29556
  • Hemingway High School
    402 S. Main Street
    Hemingway, SC 29554

Gov. McMaster orders coastal evacuation

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) — Gov. McMaster gave an update with emergency officials at 2:30 p.m. on preparations for Florence, which has become a Category 4 Hurricane.


He has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Charleston, Beaufort, Colleton, Berkeley, Dorchester, Jasper, Horry, and Georgetown Counties beginning at noon o Tuesday.



Closings and Delays

State Government Offices and Schools closed starting Tuesday Sept 11 for Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties.

  • Ashley Hall will be closed starting Wednesday
  • Beaufort County School District has canceled classes until further notice
  • Berkeley County Schools will be closed beginning Tuesday until further notice.
  • Carolina Bay Child Development Center is closing at noon Tuesday.
  • Charleston County School District schools will be closed beginning Tuesday.
  • Charleston Southern University will end classes Monday at 2 p.m. and asks students to use Blackboard to keep up with assignments. Campus offices will close at 4 p.m. and remain closed until further notice. 
  • Charleston Woodworking School night and weekend programs have been canceled for this week.
  • College of Charleston has canceled all classes and events Tuesday until further notice
  • Colleton County School District has canceled school on Tuesday through Friday in anticipation of potential severe weather conditions.
  • Dorchester District Two will close all school and facilities Tuesday through Friday
  • First Baptist School - Closed on Tuesday until further notice. 
  • James Island Christian School will be closed beginning Tuesday.
  • Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology in Goose Creek will be closing beginning tonight until further notice. 
  • Limestone College will close Evening Program classes on Tuesday and canceling classes for the remainder of the week in Charleston. Limestone College officials will make a decision regarding any Day Campus class cancellations later this week in the event of heavy rains, flooding, or high winds from the hurricane.
  • Lowcountry Food Bank will close Tuesday until further notice
  • Mevers School of Excellence will be closed for the remainder of the week 
  • Medical University of South Carolina. University will be closed on Tuesday and no classes will be held on MUSC. University will remain closed until further notice. MUSC Health remains under normal operations at this time. 
  • Music in Motion - Will not be open this week until further notice. 
  • Palmetto Christian Academy will be closed Tuesday until further notice.
  • Palmetto School of Career Development has canceled all classes from Tuesday to Saturday. Admin staff has been asked to report to work Tuesday to be briefed about the upcoming days
  • Southeastern Institute Charleston campus will be closed Tuesday for day and evening classes
  • SC State University- Closed Monday at 5 p.m. until further notice. Information on reopening will be shared on campus communication platforms.
  • Social Security offices: Charleston, Walterboro, Beaufort
  • The Citadel- Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence, all scheduled campus activities, including classes, sporting events meetings and campus visits are canceled starting September 11 until further notice.
  • Trident Technical College has canceled Tuesday's Sept. 11 film screenings. They will be rescheduled to a later date. The college will be closed and all classes canceled through Friday.
Military Bases and Facilities
  • The 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base will postpone Tuesday's 9/11 17th Anniversary Ceremony.
  • Joint Base Charleston - The Joint Base Charleston Commander has issued a limited evacuation order (LEO) due to the projected path of Hurricane Florence. The base is currently in Hurricane Condition IV. Base personnel and residents should work through their chain of command and determine an evacuation plan. In accordance with the governor’s direction, the LEO states that all military members and Department of Defense civilians designated as non-essential personnel are authorized to evacuate beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 10, 2018.
  • Naval Health Clinic Charleston's pharmacy will close at 7 p.m. Monday. The NHCC will be closed Tuesday except to patients who have scheduled appointments before noon. NHCC's pharmacy will be open until 10 a.m. Tuesday for emergency prescriptions only. All appointments for Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be canceled. All NHCC employees, except essential personnel, are permitted to begin evacuating at 6 p.m. Monday. Employees are asked to stay in contact with their chain of command for evacuation guidance and instructions.

Closings and Delays Continued

Government Offices and Agencies
  • The Berkeley County Animal Shelter will stop accepting pets on Monday and begin preparing for possible evacuations. The shelter is currently asking for people to come foster the animals. The shelter will not be accepting owner surrenders or strays until Hurricane Florence no longer poses a threat to South Carolina.
  • Bluffton Town Council - The Council meeting for Tuesday has been canceled.
  • Dominion Energy- Charleston meet and greet postponed
  • The Charleston County Transportation Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning has been canceled.
  • The City of Hanahan's Municipal Court will be closed Wednesday and cases will be rescheduled on Sept. 26. City Hall offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday with Friday to be announced. The regular City Council meeting is still scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Businesses and Organizations
  • Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority closed until further notice
  • Berkeley Industries closed 9/11- 9/14
  • Bluffton has canceled their Town Council meeting, Municipal Court and the 9//11 Commemoration Ceremony scheduled for Tuesday
  • Boeing South Carolina will suspend operations Tuesday and will resume when it is safe to do so.
  • Brookgreen Gardens will be closed from Tuesday through Saturday.
  • Charleston City Council, Commission and Committee meetings for the week have been postponed.
  • Charleston County Public Library will close all its branches as well as book drop starting Tuesday until further notice
  • Charleston Endoscopy Center will be closed through Friday.
  • Charleston GI Specialists will close all offices through Friday.
  • Charleston International Airport is operating on a normal schedule, but airport officials urge people to check for flight updates with their airlines. Decisions to cancel flights will be made by the airlines.
  • The Charleston Walk to end Alzheimer's 2018 has been postponed until Oct. 14.
  • Charleston Water System offices are closed and will reopen on Monday. Bill payments can still be made 24/7 online, via night deposit or by phone at 843-727-6800. For emergencies, customers should call 843-727-6800.
  • CREC Property Management on Daniel Island will be closed until further notice.
  • Dermatology and Laser Center of Charleston will be closing both of its locations from Tuesday to Friday
  • Dorchester Paws will be closed Monday and Tuesday to evacuate animals. Anyone who can help by temporarily fostering (cats first) is asked to come to 136 Four Paws Lane and bring your own carrier if possible.
  • Lowcountry Regional EMS Council has canceled all classes for the remainder of Monday. The Main Office will remain open until Monday at 5 p.m. The National Registry Exam scheduled for this Friday has been rescheduled for Sept. 28 at 8:30 a.m. 
  • Mount Pleasant Water will be closed for business Tuesday and will be under emergency operations until the mandatory evacuation is lifted
  • Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will be closed beginning on Tuesday.
  • Private Therapy Services in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley will be closed through Friday.
  • SC Works Trident Centers will be closed Tuesday until further notice
  • Southeastern Spine Institute will be closed Wednesday through Friday
  • Special Olympics of South Carolina September Slammer State Tennis Tournament in Columbia has been canceled. The fundraiser in Aiken has also been canceled.
  • Summerville Endoscopy Center will be closed through Friday.
  • Summerville Meals on Wheels closed Wednesday through Friday
  • The WOW! office is closing Tuesday through Thursday and no installs will be possible at that time.
  • Trident and Summerville Medical Centers - In preparation for Hurricane Florence, Trident and Summerville Medical Centers will close physician practice locations effective 7 a.m. Tuesday, September 11 through Friday, September 14.  Hospitals and emergency rooms at Trident Medical Center, Summerville Medical Center, Moncks Corner Medical Center and Centre Pointe Emergency will remain open at this time.
  • Walmart locations in West Ashley, North Charleston, Folly Beach, Goose Creek and Summerville are closed. Others across the Lowcountry are likely closed as well.
  • Wells Fargo is closing branches at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Tuesday. It includes all branches in the Charleston area, Lowcountry and Myrtle Beach

Know Your Zone

South Carolina residents and visitors can learn about hurricane evacuation zones and their vulnerability to storm surge on South Carolina’s coast with our Know Your Zone interactive map below.


Central South Carolina Coast (All Zones)

Charleston County Evacuation Zones A, B, C

Dorchester County Evacuation Zones D, E, F

Berkely County Evacuation Zones B,G, H, I


Potential Reach of Storm Surge Impacts

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Storm surge is often considered the most dangerous and destructive part of a hurricane. Leaders and forecasters watch hurricane tracks closely as communities hit by the storm surge are usually the ones most damaged by the storm.

"The worst storm surge, and the worst inundation occurs right around the center and just to the right of that track," said Blair Holloway, a lead meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

This means if Irma were to make landfall in South Carolina, the worst damage would occur right at the eye and along the coast to the northeast of the eye. Sometimes this damage can occur dozens of miles away from the eye if the storm is big enough. “Don’t focus on the exact track of the center because the impact from the storm, including storm surge, can extend a good distance away from the actual center," said Holloway.

Storm surge is different from regular flooding in that its described as having part of the ocean move onto land for a period of time. “Imagine all this behind you, covered in water," said Dr. Lee Lindner, a professor of Atmospheric Physics from the College of Charleston as he referred to a salt marsh in West Ashley. "More importantly imagine five or eight foot waves on top of that. We’ve all seen pictures of Harvey and we’ve seen pictures of Katrina and New Orleans, all that water, that flooding. But they didn’t have the waves, and it’s the waves that can knock down homes.”

Another concern with storm surge is how it can travel up waterways and impact locations farther inland. “Surge will travel up rivers. A-matter-a-fact rivers tend to focus the surge a bit," said Lindner. "So even if we have... say… a 20 feet of surge at the mouth of the river, we could easily have 25 (feet of surge) up the river.”

The National Hurricane Center has a map that shows maximum estimated storm surge potential based on the size and strength of a storm. It should be noted that these are maximum potential estimates only, not set and stone. They're only accurate for areas directly near the eye or just to the right of the eye of a storm, and don't show potential storm surges for the entire length of a hurricane. A link can be found (HERE).

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