BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That's what Beaufort County has been doing - from sandbag operations to extra law enforcement officials who are on standby.
Beaufort County is not under an evacuation order as of now, All bridges are open and there are not any restrictions on driving. The county says it is prepared and bracing for any kind of impact, which is why people have seen law enforcement staged on the sides of the highways. They say they are making sure they stay ahead of the storm with preparations.
"As the storm progressed, Beaufort received extra resources," said Bob Bromage, Beaufort County Sheriff's Office. "That included law enforcement, South Carolina Highway Patrol, troopers, Department of Natural Resources, probation parole, Army National Guard, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation."
Another pre-Florence prep in Beaufort is the sandbag operation. Thursday was the last day residents could get bags of sand to help with some of the flooding they may experience. Cars wrapped around Southside Park for the sand until they ran out.
"We were focused on the city, but we aren't going to turn anybody away," said Beaufort County Mayor, Billy Keyserling. "It appears that we are the only government doing this but we started because we know we have flooding issues, we know that we budgeted $15 million for a stormwater improvement and we know those improvements have not yet been made."
Thursday afternoon, residents in Flood Zone A - the zone east of I-95 including Hilton Head, Bluffton, Levy, Cherry Hill, Cherry Point, and parts of Hardeeville - all encouraged to relocate to higher ground. Many of them took shelter in Ridgeland.
"Immediately, I took me and my family out of the danger zone and came to the shelter. If you can get out, get out immediately before it's too late because, better to be safe than sorry," said Christina Scott, Jasper Co. resident.
However, because a mandatory evacuation is not in place, many residents voiced their concern on Facebook about losing their jobs if they left. It's a decision Jasper emergency officials say is out of their hands.
"That's going to have to be a personal decision on their part," said Frank Edwards, Jasper County Director of Emergency Services. "I guess instead of saying anybody from the county come, which certainly anybody from the county can come, we wanted to at least let them know the particular areas that we typically experience flooding."
They also encourage residents to make sure their homes and property are prepared before getting on the road.
"We're excited for the fact that citizens are taking so much upon themselves and trying to mitigate the risk to their properties."
If you are traveling on I-95 before and after the storm, expect traffic as it is the main thoroughfare down the East Coast.
Beaufort County says they are just waiting and have all resources in place ready to respond when this storm hits.