The briefing featured leaders from the Lowcountry, Grand Strand and the state’s department of transportation
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Governor Henry McMaster and state leaders held a second Saturday briefing on the state’s recovery from Ian, this time in Georgetown.
The briefing was at the Beck Recreation Center and featured leaders from the Lowcountry, Grand Strand and the state’s department of transportation.
Ian, which was a category one hurricane at the time, made landfall near Georgetown just after 2 p.m. Friday. Georgetown and Horry County were some of the hardest hit areas by the storm.
Christy Hall, the state’s secretary of transportation, said it will take a couple more days to fully finish clearing debris around Pawleys Island and Garden City.
“And so once daylight came right here, we pushed into Pawleys [Island] and Garden City pretty quickly and if you’ve been in those areas ever over the last several hours, it’s very obvious that it’s all hands on deck and full force at trying to make sure that we’re removing that sand and debris,” Hall said. [The] causeways are clear now we’re working on the main roads in the area to get those cleared..”
McMaster said state and county leaders were prepared for the storm and stood by the state’s decision to not issue mandatory evacuations.
“And I continue to think that we have the best team in the country when it comes to things like this, as well as the best law enforcement,” McMaster said. “So this is a good day. We know that some people lost some things, we know some property was damaged and we know that some schedules were upended. But, at the end of the day, South Carolina stood strong.”
The governor also said there were no deaths related to Hurricane Ian hitting South Carolina.
Hours after the briefing, McMaster toured Pawleys Island for damage and visited what was left of the pier.
Earlier in the day, McMaster and his “Team South Carolina” spoke from the state’s Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.
National Weather Service Meteorologist John Quagliariello was one of the first speakers and spoke about how Hurricane Ian affected the state.
“So all of those strong winds brought down a significant amount of trees, even as far inland as the Midlands of South Carolina,” Quagliariello said. “A storm surge was significant along the portions of Georgetown and Laurie County coasts. The tide at Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach reached its highest to its third highest value on record, only surpassed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Matthew in 2016.”
Hurricane Ian, which devastated portions of Florida after making landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane this week, made landfall just south of Georgetown at 2:05 p.m. Friday.
The storm brought strong winds, battering rain, and left thousands without power for several hours.
Governor Henry McMaster spoke on the damages that have been sustained from the storm and praised the efforts of emergency responders.
“I’d like to do some thank you’s. We know that we have much cleaning up and rebuilding to do. Most of us have seen the pictures, particularly on the Grand Strand,” McMaster said. “We had a lot of water. The northwest corner of our state did not experience the storm very much at all, but the rest of us did, but we had no storm-related deaths. We had no hospitals damaged. Our water systems were and are okay. We had only a few cellular problems...I don’t think we’ve ever seen such organization and speedy services we saw there. I also want to thank the thousands of first responders. And that includes the utility linesman that I’ve mentioned, the county officials who’ve been working around the clock, city officials and mayors who’ve been doing the same thing.”
South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson also spoke at the briefing and talked about emergency operations centers and the transition from response to recovery operations.
“Given the current situation we expect all County Emergency Operations Centers to transition to back to steady state operations today, with ongoing emphasis on damage assessment and cleanup operations,” Stenson said. “The State Emergency Operations Center will also transition from response to recovery operations later today as well.”
Mike Leach, State Director for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, gave an update on shelters in the Lowcountry and the amount of people that sheltered during the storm.
“We had five shelters open with a population of 121 clients in Charleston, Jasper, Orangeburg, and Waynesburg Counties,” Leach said. “At 12 noon, Charleston currently has one general population shelter open in Charleston County, with a total population of nine. This shelter probably will be closed around four o’clock today.”
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