State, Local Agencies Urge Evacuation Preparation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/01/04

State, Local Agencies Urge Evacuation Preparation

Mother Nature has been kind to us over the past few years, but this time we may not be so lucky. That's why state and local officials in Beaufort County are encouraging everyone to monitor Hurricane Frances and prepare for the worst.

Although the governor hasn't called for an evacuation in Beaufort County, state and local officials want everyone to be prepared to get on the road if he does. 

"We don't want to plant the seed in our locals that it's okay to wait till the last minute," said Sheriff PJ Tanner, adding people shouldn't assume that the plan to revere inbound traffic lanes will eliminate congestion. "That's absolutely incorrect. If you wait till the last minute, you'll find the congestion."

To help eliminate traffic congestion in the case of an evacuation, Beaufort County Emergency Management has now linked its traffic cameras to the state emergency operation center and other state and local agencies.

"It lets everyone see the same situation," explained William Winn, emergency management director. "So if we see traffic problems it lets us, the sheriff's department, director of public safety, governor, can all be looking at it and say that is what's causing it and that's what we need to do. And whichever agencies need to fix it, they can work on it together."

If the governor calls for an evacuation, there are a couple new routes for those living in Sun City and along the Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton. Sun City residents will now evacuate to Highway 170 to 462. Those living in Buckwalter will now head to Highway 46 instead of 278.

Again, the governor has not called for an evacuation but the message is to be prepared if it is needed.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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