South Carolina

1,800 SC residents seek shelter as Hurricane Florence threatens the coast

Charleston resident takes shelter in Richland County ahead of Hurricane Florence

A Charleston resident couldn't return home from a trip because Hurricane Florence evacuations were underway. Now he is staying in a hurricane shelter at Ridge View High School in northeast Richland.
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A Charleston resident couldn't return home from a trip because Hurricane Florence evacuations were underway. Now he is staying in a hurricane shelter at Ridge View High School in northeast Richland.

More than 1,800 South Carolinians have sought shelter at 35 emergency shelters as Hurricane Florence continues to threaten the Carolina coast.

The evacuees include Mark Patterson, who, along with 25 others, found a place to sleep in Ridge View High School’s gymnasium.

“Everything is great — people are very accommodating, very nice,” said the 49-year-old Patterson, who was returning to Charleston from Iowa on Tuesday when he discovered he could go no farther than Columbia after state officials ordered lane reversals on I-26. “I feel very welcome here.”

On Tuesday, state officials still were optimistic the now Category 3 storm would shift away from South Carolina. But that changed overnight.

Gov. Henry McMaster urged coastal residents Wednesday to seek shelter after the hurricane’s projected route shifted back toward the Palmetto State, threatening to bring tropical-storm and hurricane-force winds on Thursday and Friday.

An evacuation order remains in effect for Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties and Edisto Beach.

McMaster said Wednesday more than 300,000 coastal residents already have evacuated. With the storm’s threat increasing, S.C. Red Cross officials say they anticipate more South Carolinians will seek housing at shelters.

The shelters open Wednesday can house up to 35,000 evacuees. State officials said, if needed, they could open another 18 shelters with space for an additional 30,000-plus evacuees.

“These are meant to be a safe place to ride out the storm,” Red Cross regional spokesman Cuthbert Langley said Wednesday.

Charleston’s Patterson — who dined on pepperoni pizza Tuesday night and chicken biscuits Wednesday morning at Richland 2’s Ridge View High — said Wednesday he plans to pass the time reading books and doing Qigong, a Chinese series of exercises.

For some evacuees, Wednesday was their first time in Columbia.

Several checked out art at the Columbia Museum of Art. Others — including Wayne and Janice Watkins of Canada, forced to vacate their Myrtle Beach hotel — took in the city’s historic sites.

The couple arrived in Myrtle Beach on Friday and had planned to stay two weeks, Wayne Watkins said. “But we’re flying out of Atlanta tomorrow now.”

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter; John Monk: 803-771-8344, @jmonkatthestate

SC emergency shelters

Clarendon 1 Resource Center (old Scott’s Branch School), 4th Street, Summerton

Andrews Elementary School, 13072 County Line Road, Andrews

Manning High School, 2155 Paxville Highway, Manning

Kingstree Senior High School, 2084 Thurgood Marshall Road, Kingstree

C.E. Murray High School, 222 C. E. Murray Blvd., Greeleyville

Lake City High School, 652 N. Matthews Road, Lake City

Wilson High School, 1411 E. Old Highway, Florence

Cane Bay High School, 1624 State Road, Summerville, pet friendly

Berkeley Middle School, 320 N. Live Oak Drive, Moncks Corner

Goose Creek High School, 1137 Red Bank Road, Goose Creek

St. Stephen Elementary, 1053 Russellville Road, St. Stephen

East Clarendon Middle-High School, 1171 Pope St., Turbeville

Dillon Middle School, 1803 Joan Drive, Dillon

Dubose Middle School, 1005 Dubose School Road, Summerville, pet friendly

South Florence High School, 3200 S. Irby St., Florence

Timmonsville Education Center, 304 Kemper St., Timmonsville

Aynor Middle School, 400 Frye Road, Galivants Ferry

Conway High School, 2301 Church St., Conway

Loris High School, 301 Loris Lions Road, Loris

North Myrtle Beach High School, 3750 Sea Mountain Highway, Little River

Ocean Bay Elementary School, 950 International Drive, Myrtle Beach

Ocean Bay Middle School, 905 International Drive, Myrtle Beach

Palmetto Bay Elementary School, 8900 S.C. 544, Myrtle Beach

Whittemore Park Middle School, 1808 Rhue St., Conway

Marion High School, 1205 S. Main St., Marion

Branchville High School, 1349 Dorange Road, Branchville

Hunter-Kinard Tyler School, Norway Road, Norway

Lake Marion High School, 3656 Tee Vee Road, Santee, pet friendly

Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, 601 Bruin Drive, Orangeburg

Ridge View High School, 4801 Hard Scrabble Road, Columbia

Mayewood Middle School, 4300 E. Brewington Road, Sumter

D.P. Cooper Elementary School, 4568 Seaboard Road, Salters

Hemingway High School, 402 S. Main St, Hemingway

Colleton County High School, 150 Cougar Nation Drive, Walterboro

Pleasant Hill Elementary, 127 Schoolhouse Road, Hemingway

SOURCE: S.C. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION
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