Hurricane Idalia remains a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The center of the storm is currently located in southeastern Georgia and is moving to the northeast at 20 mph. Idalia is expected to cross into South Carolina later this evening as a strong tropical storm.
Though the most significant impacts are still several hours away, the Charleston region has already begun to feel the effects of Idalia. The Charleston County Emergency Management Department (EMD) has reported multiple tornadoes touching down throughout the county. Heavy rains across the Charleston area have resulted in flash flooding and road closures. EMD has also reported coastal flooding in parts of the county. Earlier this afternoon, St. Johns Fire District personnel also responded when a large tree fell across Bohicket Road. Conditions are expected to continue deteriorating into the evening hours.
The Town of Seabrook Island is expected to experience impacts from Idalia over the remainder of the evening on Wednesday and into the early morning hours on Thursday. Our area is currently under a Hurricane Warning, Storm Surge Warning and Flood Watch. The NWS has advised that the following impacts are possible in our area:
- Heavy rainfall and flash flooding: Between 4 and 8 inches of rainfall is forecast for the Charleston area, with higher amounts likely further inland. Heavy rains may result in flash flooding and dangerous travel conditions.
- Hurricane and tropical storm force winds: Tropical storm force winds (39+ mph) are expected to reach the Charleston area around 9:00 pm. It is anticipated that our area will experience a brief period of hurricane force winds (74+ mph) starting around 10:00 pm. High winds may result in downed trees, the loss of power and damage to structures. Peak winds are expected around 11:00 pm before tapering off during the overnight hours.
- Storm surge/coastal flooding: Hurricane Idalia is expected to bring a storm surge of 2 to 5 feet to our area. The arrival of tropical storm force winds and the resulting storm surge will coincide with the Wednesday evening high tide, which will occur around 8:30 pm. The NWS is predicting a high tide of 8.5 to 8.6 feet on Wednesday evening; however, the actual water levels may be higher than predicted. Low lying areas around Seabrook Island which are prone to flooding will likely be impacted.
- There is an elevated risk for tornadoes across the region on Wednesday evening, as well as waterspouts over the coastal waters. Several tornadoes have already been reported across the Charleston region.
- There is also a high risk for rip currents, high surf, and significant beach erosion.
Earlier today, Charleston County Government declared a State of Emergency as a result of Hurricane Idalia. Charleston County Government offices, including the downtown Judicial Center, will remain closed on Thursday.
The Town of Seabrook Island increased its readiness position to OPCON 2 (Likely Disaster Impacts) on Wednesday morning and remains in contact with county and state emergency management officials. Town offices will remain closed for non-essential personnel on Thursday.
Seabrook Island Beach Patrol personnel and equipment were removed from the beach around noon on Wednesday due to deteriorating conditions. Beach Patrol advises that strong currents and high surf are likely. Residents and visitors are advised to stay out of the water until the storm has passed.
The St. Johns Fire Department will respond to all calls as long as it is safe for their personnel to do so. Calls may need to be prioritized based on conditions. The department will have a high-water vehicle on-island and ready to assist as needed.
Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) administrative offices and the Lake House were closed on Wednesday. Subject to storm impacts, SIPOA does not currently anticipate any closures or contractor restrictions on Thursday.
The Seabrook Island Club has advised that all Club amenities will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Berkeley Electric Cooperative has advised the town that it is continuing to monitor Hurricane Idalia and is prepared to respond to storm impacts in our area.
On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Henry McMaster declared a State of Emergency in preparation for the potential effects from Hurricane Idalia. The governor’s order directs the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) to coordinate with all relevant state agencies and to be prepared to respond to any requests for state assistance from local officials and county emergency management leaders.
Residents, property owners and visitors are advised to monitor local media outlets for updates on Hurricane Idalia. Forecasts are also updated regularly on the National Hurricane Center website at www.hurricanes.gov.
Residents, property owners and visitors are also encouraged to review and be ready to implement their hurricane preparedness plans. Additional resources may be found on the town’s website.
In advance of the most significant storm impacts, residents and visitors who have not already done so are encouraged to secure or remove outdoor objects, such as lawn furniture, garbage cans and other materials, which may be blown by the wind.
Residents and visitors are also strongly encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel on Wednesday evening and into the early morning hours, especially when tides will be the highest between 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm.
Property owners and managers with rental guests should forward this information to their rental guests. Owners and managers of commercial establishments are also encouraged to share this information with their employees.
Official updates from the town will be posted on the following town channels, as warranted:
- Website: www.townofseabrookisland.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/townofseabrookisland
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/seabrookislnd87
DIAL 911 FOR EMERGENCIES. Emergency calls to 911 should be reserved for life-threatening situations, or for the reporting of a crime or fire. Do NOT call 911 if you have water in your home unless your life is in danger. Do NOT call 911 to report a power outage. Power outages should be reported directly to Berkeley Electric Cooperative.
Charleston County Citizen’s Information Hotline. The Charleston County Citizen’s Information Line is currently active. For questions concerning non-emergency assistance during a state of emergency, contact the Charleston County Citizen’s Information Hotline at (843) 746-3900.
Power Outages. Power outages may be reported to Berkeley Electric Cooperative by phone at (888) 253-4232 or online.
Sign up for CodeRED. The Town of Seabrook Island uses the CodeRED emergency notification system. Click here to register for CodeRED alerts.
-Submitted by Town of Seabrook Island