Hurricane Dorian moving onto Outer Banks as it picks up speed
Eastern counties in the Midlands are expected to feel impacts from Hurricane Dorian beginning on Thursday.
Six counties continue under tropical storm warnings and flash flood watches, according to a 5:30 a.m. update from the Columbia bureau of the National Weather Service. Those counties are:
If Hurricane Dorian — which strengthened again into a Category 3 overnight — continues on its projected path, the eastern Midlands could receive up to 5 inches of rain in some areas and tropical storm force winds sustained at 39 miles per hour and higher gusts. These counties could experience some local flooding, according to the NWS briefing. The storm is expected to effect the Midlands and its eastern counties by Thursday morning and continue through the afternoon.
The most intense effects outside of the South Carolina coast could be felt along Interstate 95, though tropical storm force wind gusts could reach further into the Midlands, the briefing said.
Meteorologists at the Columbia bureau do not anticipate tornadoes spinning out from Hurricane Dorian.
As the powerful storm scraped its way up to the South Carolina coast, easternmost counties braced for the effects of storm surge. By Thursday morning, tens of thousands were without power. Forecasters warn Hurricane Dorian’s eye will be “dangerously close,” if not on top of, the coast on Thursday.
Local governments in Orangeburg, Calhoun, Bamberg and Florence closed ahead of the storm. Emergency crews are prepared to dispatch in the eastern counties of the Midlands but all are warning that ambulances, fire fighters and public safety personnel cannot respond if winds are sustained at 35 miles per hour for safety reasons.
Some of those counties, including Lee County, reported that shelters have already taken in a dozens of people.
The eastern Midlands counties have opened shelters at these locations:
- Orangeburg County: Lake Marion High School at 3656 Tee Vee Road, Santee, SC 29142 and Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School at 601 Bruin Parkway Orangeburg, SC 29118
- Florence County: South Florence High School at 3200 South Irby Street, Florence, SC 29505 and Lake City High School at 652 North Matthews Road, Lake City, SC 29560
Bamberg County: Voorhees College at 5573 Voorhees Rd, Denmark, SC
Lee County: Lee Central High School at 1800 Wisacky Highway, Bishopville, SC 29010
Clarendon County: Old Scotts Branch High School at 1154 4th Street in Summerton, Manning High School at 2155 Paxvilel Hwy in Manning and East Clarendon High School at 1171 Pope Street in Turbeville.
Most of the counties’ offices plan to reopen Friday.
By around 8:30 a.m. a Bamberg County official said that impacts of Dorian are being noticed in the county and “it looks to be a long rainy and windy day.”