COLUMBIA, S.C. – Monday afternoon SC Gov. Nikki Haley reported that state officials were concerned about the rising river levels in the Pee Dee. State leaders say dams in Marion and Florence County are the most at risk.
Officials have called in extra help to evacuate and patrol rivers like the Little Pee Dee, the Black, and the Waccamaw and secure the properties near those bodies of water from looters.
In coordination with local officials, Governor Nikki Haley announced Monday that evacuation orders have been lifted for all residents in Horry and Georgetown counties as of 8 a.m. Orders for Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties were lifted Sunday, and there are no effective evacuation orders remaining.
Returning residents are encouraged to exercise patience and expect lengthy travel times, blocked roadways and detours back to evacuated areas and are asked not to drive around barricades or use emergency lanes that are needed for first responders.
Most of the previously evacuated zones will have unrestricted access; however, certain areas may still be closed due to safety precautions as determined by local officials. Monday afternoon, Haley announced that access to Hilton Head, Hunting, Harbor and Fripp Islands were still inaccessible.
Even though weather conditions have improved, motorists should prepare for fallen trees, downed power lines and standing water in and around roadways. Citizens also should anticipate power outages at their homes or businesses, which may last for several days or weeks.
Although Hurricane Matthew has moved away from South Carolina’s coast, hazardous conditions still exist in many parts of coastal and inland counties:
• Avoid flood waters or standing water. Do not use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water, or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines, or other hazardous debris that may be under the surface.
• Do not use generators indoors. Running generators in homes, garages, or other closed areas can lead to increased levels of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal and may cause death.
• Be sure tap water is safe to consume. Watch for boil water advisories on your local news or call your water utility. Use only bottled or stored water until it is determined that the water is safe to drink. If water is not safe to drink, boil water vigorously for at least one minute and then cool before use.
The S.C. Emergency Management Division’s website, http://scemd.org, lists emergency shelter status statewide and is updated in real-time by the S.C. Department of Social Services. Coastal evacuees without internet access are urged to call the PIPS line at 1-866-246-0133 with questions and needed assistance.
For more information visit http://www.scemd.org or follow @SCEMD on Twitter and Facebook.