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Hurricane Idalia's impact to Beaufort County: What to know

Jul 22, 2023Jul 22, 2023

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BEAUFORT — Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida just before 8 a.m. on Aug. 30, and since then it's been working its way across Georgia toward Beaufort County.

Rain, intense at times, has been falling in the county throughout the day, though winds at mid-afternoon were still mild.

While the storm's exact path and projected impacts are constantly evolving, one thing is nearly certain. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

The heaviest rains and strongest winds are still to come according to the current forecast.

Local institutions are making preparations for the storm's arrival, and a number of closures and schedule modifications have been reported.

The Beaufort County School District announced eLearning and remote workdays for its students and staff on Aug. 30 and 31. All school district buildings will be closed those days. Extracurricular activities and afterschool programs scheduled for Aug. 30 and 31 have been canceled.

All classes at the Technical College of the Lowcountry are canceled and the campus is closed Aug. 30 and 31.

All online and in-person classes at the University of South Carolina Beaufort are canceled Aug. 30 and 31. Residence halls and ding halls will remain open but may have limited services. All other university offices will also be closed. Classes are expected to resume Sept. 1.

Officials in Beaufort County declared a state of emergency that will remain in effect until Sept. 3.

The declaration allows government officials to take any action necessary to mitigate emergencies caused by Hurricane Idalia. These actions may include imposing curfews, reentry procedures and any other short term emergency matters.

No curfews or limitations on travel have been enacted in the county at this time.

Hilton Head Island Mayor Alan Perry has likewise declared a local state of emergency for Hilton Head Island beginning Aug. 30 and continuing through Sept. 3.

"Emergency measures are necessary to cope with the existing and anticipated dangers presented by Hurricane Idalia," Perry said in a press release.

The following local governments will be closed Aug. 30 and 31:

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Center was activated at 2 p.m. It will remain operations through the duration of the storm to address any storm-related emergencies.

The Town of Yemassee will be closed Aug. 30. Offices are tentatively scheduled to reopen Aug. 31, though a final decision based on current conditions will be made in the afternoon of Aug. 30.

Beaufort County Convenience Centers will be closed Aug. 30 and 31, and all county Parks and Recreation programs are canceled.

Jasper County is opening an emergency shelter at Ridgeland School located at 250 Jaguar Trail in Ridgeland. The shelter will open at 10 a.m. Aug. 30. The shelter can accommodate pets.

Officials recommend that people utilizing the facility bring:

Residents with pets must bring: a crate; pet food; vaccination records; rabies certificate; most recent heartworm test; most recent FeLV/FIV test result (for cats); at least a seven-day supply of their medications; litter and litter box (for cats); cleaning supplies; and food and water bowls. Pets who are not service animals will not be permitted in the main shelter area due to safety considerations.

Hilton Head Island Airport and Beaufort Executive Airport remain open, but all commercial flights in and out of Hilton Head Island Airport have been canceled for Aug. 30. Travelers are advised to check with their carriers for any possible flight delays and cancellations.

According to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, there are no plans to restrict driving within the county. However, residents and visitors are encouraged to limit unnecessary travel during peak storm hours. Standing water may be possible on roadways due to rain accumulation. Use extra caution when driving.

The Daufuskie Island Ferry service will be suspended beginning Aug. 30 following the 11:30 a.m. departure. The 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. ferries departing Buckingham and 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ferries departing Melrose Landing are canceled.

Ferry service may resume Aug. 31 based on conditions and an assessment of the docks and boats. Be aware that the captain can suspend operations anytime it is unsafe to travel. Unscheduled delays and cancellations may occur without notice.

The parking lots at both Melrose Landing on Daufuskie and Buckingham Landing in Bluffton are in very low-lying areas and are prone to flooding. Parking in those locations is not recommended until the storm passes. Drivers are advised to move vehicles to the Daufuskie Island Visitors Center parking lot, located at Tanger 2 Hilton Head Outlets on Fording Island Road.

Power outages can be reported to Dominion Energy at 888-333-4465, while suspected gas leaks should be reported at 800-815-0083.

Customers of Palmetto Electric Cooperative Inc., can report outages at 866-445-5551.

The Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority offices are closed Aug. 30 and 31. Maintenance crews will respond as conditions allow.

No evacuation order has been given as of this time for the Marine Corps Air Station - Beaufort. Efforts to prepare Marine Corps Recruit Depot - Parris Island for the storm are reported to be underway.

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Reach Tony Kukulich at 843-709-8929.

The extent of Tropical Storm Idalia in South Carolina was confined mostly to flooding in coastal cities and heavy rains through the midlands. However, river flooding is predicted in the eastern Midlands south of Columbia in coming days. Read moreTropical Storm Idalia passes Columbia area with minimal impact

The National Weather Service lifted the tropical storm and storm surge warnings for much of the South Carolina coastline, including Charleston and communities farther south, around 2 a.m. But as of 5 a.m., Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand remained under both warnings until later Aug. 31, according to the service's latest update. Read moreLive updates: Idalia's aftermath leaves Charleston flooded, Edisto battered

Moving at a 20-mph clip, Hurricane Idalia cut through Florida and Georgia on Aug. 30, its moisture-laden outer bands striking Charleston around noon with fierce squalls that sent rain gauges along the coast climbing. Read moreLive updates: King tides near record levels during Idalia, flooding Charleston and Edisto

Hurricane Idalia's arrival in South Carolina spawned tornadoes and fierce squalls. Read moreIdalia was a blue moon hurricane with a record high tide that ransacked coastal South Carolina

The following content is available to all readers as a part of our public service coverage of Idalia's impact to South Carolina.