South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, called for the evacuation of the entire SC coastal area yesterday afternoon with lane reversals for I-26 all the way to Columbia.
The evacuation order is something McMaster is certain to get some flak and criticism later for but given the forecast track, storm intensity, and size at the time, I think it was an entirely reasonable precaution.
NEW: Florence is now a category 4 hurricane. Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter indicate that Florence has continued to rapidly strengthen and has maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (195 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 946 mb (27.93 inches) https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/wfLt6fJPl2— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 10, 2018
Hurricane evacuation orders in South Carolina are called “mandatory”, but nobody is going to come to force you to leave. However, if you choose to stay, once winds reach a sustained 40 mph (or 39 mph, depending on your source), you’re on your own. Emergency personnel won’t respond because they’re hunkered down for their own safety, or might not even be able to get to you even if they could respond.
Police can’t physically remove you amid #HurricaneFlorence evacuation. But if you stay, be prepared to fend for yourself. If you have an emergency, first responders might not be able to reach you immediately. And they might not be able to reach you at all. https://t.co/BNPFTodN3p— Andrew Knapp (@offlede) September 10, 2018
Based on today’s 5AM AST forecast track, it looks like we’ll be on the edge of the storm and, barring any unexpected turns to the west, won’t be affected quite as much. The NHC 3-day forecasts have been fairly accurate the past few years, so I don’t expect many big changes to the forecast track. Florence has a pretty broad wind field, and it’s expected to slow down quite a bit once it gets inland. Expecting it to be windy and rainy, but not much more than that.
Hurricane prep continues today with putting away anything on the back porch that can blow away. Probably don’t really need to, but if nothing else it’s a good drill for next time.