Governor Henry McMaster addressed the public in a press conference from South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) this afternoon at 2:30 p.m., Friday, September 14, 2018.
"Hurricane Florence is different from those we've had before. This hurricane is going to be with us for about two days." McMaster said.
McMaster went on to say that this is the closest storm we have had to Hurricane Hugo, but Florence is unlike Hugo in that it will remain on land and in terms of catostrophic, enduring rainfall and as rain shifts from North Carolina, potential flooding.
"We're going to have to have patience. We're going to have to be careful for a long time, and then we're going to have to deal with a lot of water after the winds leave. This brings up a whole new set of consequences."
Patience is key as the storm moves through the state. Emergency responders and South Carolina Department of Transportation workers will move in after it is safe to clear roadways, remove debris, and assess damge. There will be lasting effects, and while it may seem as though rains and wind have passed, certain areas will not be safe to return to for several days.
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Florence made landfall around 7:15 a.m. this morning around Wrightsville Beach. The Wilmington Airport measured wind gusts at 105 miles-per-hour, which are the second highest ever recorded in history in that area. The highest wind gusts recorded in South Carolina thus far have been 63 miles-per-hour, north of Conway, S.C.
Florence is still a Category One Hurricane with sustained winds of 75 miles-per-hour, and located 35 miles east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Florence is currently moving at a rate of five miles-per-hour, which is around the average walking speed of a person. This means long duration impacts can be expected.
There are many hazards associated with this storm, which on radar is about the size of the state of South Carolina. First, hurricane force winds and tropical force winds are possible throughout the state. Stay away from windows and doorways and seek shelter in interior spaces such as hallways or closets if necessary. Wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour are expected as Florence weakens into a tropical storm and eventually crosses into the Midlands. Winds will likely result in downed trees and power lines. Anticipate power outages and prepare with flashlights and battery operated radios.
Catestrophic rainfall of 15-25 inches in some parts of the state and flooding are perhaps the greatest concern at this time. Heavy rainfall potential will persist through the weekend.
This is a multiphase event. As the storm passes through and rain falls into waterways, there is then the potential for record breaking flooding across the state. Seek higher ground if you live in a low-lying area. Both the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Governor McMaster asserted that the state is better equipped to model, anticipate and prepare for flooding after the historic flood of 2015.
Do not drive across standing water or flooded areas in roadways, as debris and downed power lines can be hazardous and potentially deadly.
A reminder 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.
For the latest closings, shelter listings and up-to-date information, visit the SCEMD website.
SCETV will be broadcasting all future press conferences related to Hurricane Florence on television, radio, and our website, as well as streaming on YouTube and on Facebook, and posting any important developments related to the storm and its effects.