Many Hilton Head Island residents not evacuating ahead of storm

Many Hilton Head Island residents not evacuating ahead of storm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Minus the lessened traffic, Tuesday looks like a pretty normal day on Hilton Head Island.

Mayor John McCann estimates that only 30 percent of residents have evacuated so far. WTOC caught up with several residents in Coligny Plaza who say they’re prepared to ride out the storm.

“I’ve been around too many hurricanes, and you know, this one actually seems like it’s staying on the coastline, and it doesn’t even seen like it’s going to hit land, and it keeps dropping and decreasing on its wind speed,” said Hilton Head Island resident, Justin Posey. “I’ve prepared, you know, I’ve got everything all loaded up and ready to go if I do have to evacuate, but so far, it’s supposed to be hitting tomorrow and it doesn’t even look like anything is getting any worse, so I’m kind of just waiting for it to happen. That’s all I do.”

He says to his knowledge, only three restaurants are open.

World of Beer in Shelter Cove is one of only several restaurants that are open. Despite having just four employees, they’ll be open until midnight Tuesday night.

“I think a lot of people did leave because of the storm, so it hasn’t been super busy and I think that a lot of people think that everywhere is closed, so we put a sign out on the street and we’ve been listing on Facebook and trying to let everyone know that we’re open,” said Amy Stewart, WOB, General Manager.

World of Beer says they haven’t decided if they’ll open on Wednesday.

Mayor McCann’s message to residents is to get out now, while you still can.

“All the nursing homes have evacuated the island as of Tuesday at 1 p.m. The hospital is closed as of today,” Mayor McCann said. “The sheriff’s department is moving part of its force out here, so you - just in common sense - you don’t want to be here when all the services you need in life are gone.”

“The closer Dorian gets, the sooner those tropical storm force winds and potentially hurricane force winds will impact the island, so you want to be gone before those get here, so you want to be gone before those get here, so if you have the opportunity to leave tonight or very early tomorrow morning, we’d really like you to go ahead and evacuate,” said Tom Dunn, Emergency Management Coordinator.

Many Hilton Head Island residents not evacuating ahead of storm

One Hilton Head couple says despite the warnings, they haven’t decided whether or not they will leave.

“We’re waiting to see. We’ll probably check the weather forecast tomorrow morning and then decide whether or not we’re going to evacuate,” said Susan and Jeff Weber.

Mayor McCann says if the wind gets up to 39 miles-per-hour, the sheriff will pull patrol cars off the roads. If it gets up to 50, EMS and firetrucks will do the same. If you stay, they may not be able to respond.

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