Today, the town participated in a conference call with Charleston County Emergency Management Department and regional counterparts to discuss Hurricane Florence.
Hurricane Florence has downgraded to a category 2 but is a dangerous storm and has grown in size. As an interesting point, Florence has a larger radius than Hurricane Hugo. Charleston County is still under a hurricane watch with conditions expected to deteriorate on Friday and last through Sunday. I-26 lane reversal will end today at 6 p.m.
Kiawah may still experience tropical storm force winds, sustained wind speeds of 30-35 mph, wind gusts up to 75 mph and storm surge from 2-4 ft. Kiawah is still likely to experience power outages, large debris, downed trees, and flooding on low lying roads.
Once the storm has passed, the governor has to first lift the evacuation order and then Mayor Weaver has to announce island re-entry date and time. Re-entry will not be permitted until after damage assessment is complete.
Remember after Matthew re-entry was not allowed for 48 hours. Residents should plan on a similar situation if conditions are similar to Matthew.
– Charleston County Sheriff Deputies have established a control point on Betsy Kerrison just before the roundabout and is restricting access to Kiawah and Seabrook islands to only property owners and essential staff.
– Berkeley Electric Cooperative is urging residents of the islands to prepare for extended outages. This is especially important for members who have medical needs requiring power. Berkeley Electric Cooperative cannot guarantee uninterrupted power during a major outage and will not be able to provide a timeline for restoration until after the storm has passed and the damage to the system can be evaluated. Berkeley Electric Cooperative will have crews on-site at key locations to monitor water levels. In the event that water levels threaten to flood the substations, the decision will be made to shut them down before suffering catastrophic damage. Although this may be inconvenient, this process will actually speed up recovery times.
– Debris management crews are on standby and will be deployed as soon as possible.
– Commercial access to the island is closed.
– The Station is closed but gas pumps are on for credit purchases as long as there is power to the island.
– KICA’s pond system has been set to max drainage since Tuesday in anticipation of heavy rain and flooding.
– County traffic is not being restricted except on I-26 which will end today at 6 p.m.
– Please be aware there are already strong rip currents and high surf along the Atlantic Ocean. Please do not enter the water.
– If conditions warrant, critical public safety services including Fire and EMS may withdraw their equipment and personnel from the island.
– If conditions are severe, power and water systems could be shut down. If that were to happen we will communicate that message promptly.
– If you have special needs regarding medical assistance, contact the Disabilities Resource Center at (843) 225-5080.
– Charleston County Citizen Information Line is open 24 hours daily at 843-746-3900.
– For Freshfields Village store operations, visit www.freshfieldsvillage.
– Residents will not be allowed back into the town until deemed safe for reentry and authorized by the Mayor. We will release that information via our website email notifications, social media and CodeRED.
– Emergency teams will be evaluating through the duration of the event.