Hurricane Florence has shifted in the last 12 hours. While expected landfall is in North Carolina or the northeast quadrant of South Carolina, Charleston County is under a hurricane watch and is going to see severe weather conditions. Conditions are expected to deteriorate into Friday, with the effects of the storm lasting at least through Sunday. Kiawah could experience at least tropical force winds, with sustained wind speeds of 30-35 mph and wind gusts up to 75 mph.
Kiawah is likely to experience conditions similar to Hurricane Matthew. If you have not already evacuated, we encourage you to do so. If you choose to stay, you can expect 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 the mayor has to announce island reentry date and time. Reentry will not be permitted until after damage assessment is complete. Remember after Matthew reentry was not allowed for 48 hours. Residents should plan on a similar situation if conditions are similar to Matthew.
Today at 5 p.m., Charleston County Sheriff Deputies will be restricting access to Kiawah and Seabrook islands to only property owners and essential staff. Deputies will establish a control point on Betsy Kerrison, just before the roundabout.
This restriction of public entry to the two islands will be in addition to KICA and Sheriff coverage on the island and provide evacuated residents greater assurance that the island and their homes are secure. If conditions warrant, critical public safety services including law enforcement, fire and EMS may withdrawal personnel from the island.
The town is in contact with Kiawah Island Utility and Berkeley Electric and we will pass long any information regarding their services.
– Commercial access to the island will end at close of business today.
– The Station is now closed but gas pumps will be left 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. It typically takes 3-4 falling tide cycles to accomplish a significant draw down of water levels, as downstream ponds empty into the river, and then refill with water from upstream ponds. The overall system is draining, but each individual pond rises and falls throughout the process. It’s not unusual for large fish kills to occur as a result of this process.
– For Freshfields Village store operations, visit http://www.freshfieldsvillage.com/village-hours
– County traffic is not being restricted except on I-26.
– Please be aware there are already strong rip currents and high surf along the Atlantic Ocean. Please do not enter the water.
– Concurrent with the evacuation order and if condition warrant, critical public safety services including fire and EMS may withdrawal 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.
– 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 (www.kiawahisland.org), email notifications, social media and CodeRED.
– Emergency teams will be evaluating through the duration of the event.