COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -With mandatory evacuations now underway along the South Carolina coast, there are more than a dozen emergency shelters available to accommodate those who need a place to stay, as we continue to await possible impact from Hurricane Dorian.
As of Tuesday morning, SCEMD officials say there are almost 300 people temporarily living inside emergency shelters. This, after Governor Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation order affecting more than 830,000 residents along the coast.
Currently there are just under 15 emergency shelters available, and a few of those are listed as pet friendly. Red Cross emergency shelters do not allow pets, but shelter volunteers will help you make other arrangements.
Evacuees headed to any of the available shelters are being asked to bring blankets, pillows, and any special food items for a restricted diet.
WIS-TV caught up with a few travelers who say the mandatory evacuation caused them to have to cut their vacation short.
Kellie Boone is a South Carolina resident, but was recently on vacation in Hilton Head with her mother. She said, “Our trip was cut a little short just because of the weather and was told about a mandatory evacuation. We actually rented a condo from someone in Hilton Head and she had called saying we probably wanted to go ahead and get out.”
Steve Tennyson is from Arizona. He and his wife were finishing up a month-long road trip traveling the country in an RV. Charleston was one of their last stops, but, “About Friday we started getting a little concerned. We were going to spend another 10 days. So, we’re on our way home now,”Tennyson said.
SCEMD officials say the shelters available, right now, can accommodate almost 10,000 people and there are more shelters are on standby to open up, if needed.
Governor McMaster said in an earlier press conference that even if Hurricane Dorian doesn’t make landfall in the Palmetto State, strong winds and heavy rain are still possible, which could lead to flooding and other damage.
Tennyson said he’s never experienced anything like this, and that there is sometimes a, “Little bit of wind and rain in Arizona, but nothing like this before. We watch these on TV,” laughing, Tennyson continued saying, “I think we’ll be back next spring, but I think we’ll come earlier before hurricane season hits, avoid this chaos.”
Boone said this is not the first time a hurricane interrupted her vacation.
“My mom and I take a yearly beach trip and we were actually caught in Hurricane Florence last year. So, for this to happen now was kind of – we didn’t expect it to happen again, but we wanted to go down to the beach and have a good time. Unfortunately, it was a lot of rain this weekend.”
For the full list of locations and pet friendly shelters, visit: https://www.scemd.org/stay-informed/emergency-shelters/