Hurricane Florence evacuation lane reversal now in effect near Columbia, SC
Coastal evacuees trickled into shelters Tuesday as Hurricane Florence continued to pose a threat to the Carolinas coastline.
The S.C. Emergency Management Division said Tuesday that 28 shelters would open across the state, capable of housing about 25,000 people.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,300 coastal evacuees were being housed in 30 shelters, the Red Cross S.C. said.
In the Midlands, only six people — five from the same family — had checked into Ridge View High School in northeast Richland County an hour after the Richland 2 school opened its doors as a shelter at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
But a Red Cross official said more coastal evacuees were expected to check in as night fell.
“I’m here at Conway High School, not in Columbia, but we’ve seen a steady flow of people coming in as it’s gotten later in the afternoon,” S.C. Red Cross spokesman Cuthbert Langley said by phone about 6 p.m. Tuesday. “We have a little over 100 people (evacuees) at Conway, and we’re continuing to see folks come in.”
Hurricane Florence was a Category 4 hurricane Tuesday but had shifted course slightly southwest with its landfall expected Friday, the National Weather Service said late Tuesday.
At a Monday briefing, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered about a million people to evacuate South Carolina’s coast. On Tuesday, the Columbia Republican canceled the evacuation order for Jasper, Beaufort and Colleton counties, the state’s southernmost counties.
That still left more than 700,000 S.C. residents under orders to evacuate.
In the Columbia area, the Red Cross opened a shelter at Ridge View on Hard Scrabble Road. While it was not designated as “pet friendly,” Richland County said in an email it has plans in place to accommodate evacuees with pets.
Meanwhile, in Lexington County, White Knoll High School remained on stand-by status to be opened as a shelter, Lexington School District 1 spokeswoman Mary Beth Hill said. Shelters at White Knoll and other Midlands schools, now on stand-by, will be opened as shelters closer to the coast fill up, leaving evacuees who need a place to stay, Hill said.
“We just want folks to know these shelters are here,” said Langley of the Red Cross, who recommended evacuees bring sleeping bags, pillows and whatever else makes them feel “comfortable.”
The Red Cross will work with its state and local partners on whether to open more shelters, Langley said. “We’re keeping an eye out.”
More SC emergency shelters
▪ Andrews Elementary School, 13072 County Line Road
▪ Kingstree Senior High, 2084 Thurgood Marshall Road
▪ Cane Bay High School, 1624 State Road *pet friendly
▪ Berkeley Middle School, 320 N. Live Oak Drive
▪ Goose Creek High School, 1137 Red Bank Road
▪ St. Stephen Elementary, 1053 Russellville Road
▪ Dillon Middle School, 1803 Joan Drive
▪ Dubose Middle School, 1005 Dubose School Road *pet friendly
▪ South Florence High School, 3200 S. Irby St.
▪ Aynor Middle School, 400 Frye Road
▪ Conway High School, 2301 Church St.
▪ Loris High School, 301 Loris Lions Road
▪ North Myrtle Beach High School, 3750 Sea Mountain Hwy.
▪ Ocean Bay Elementary School, 950 International Drive
▪ Ocean Bay Middle School, 905 International Drive
▪ Palmetto Bay Elementary School, 8900 South Carolina 544
▪ Whittemore Park Middle School, 1808 Rhue St.
▪ Branchville High School, 1349 Dorange Road
▪ Hunter-Kinard Tyler School, Norway Road
▪ Lake Marion High School, 3656 Tee Vee Road
▪ Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, 601 Bruin Drive
▪ Pleasant Hill Elementary, 127 Schoolhouse Road