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Gov. McMaster asks Trump for emergency declaration, evacuations ordered

Gov. Henry McMaster on Sunday asked President Trump to issue an emergency declaration for South Carolina and ordered evacuations to begin Monday along the coast, including Horry County.

Trump and McMaster spoke Sunday afternoon during a video conference with national first responders and governors from other affected states in preparation for the devastating storm’s northward turn in the next 48 hours.

“Of course he offered any and all federal assistance that we may need,” McMaster said during a media briefing following the meeting.

“We expect that declaration to be granted very soon,” McMaster said.

The Horry County Council declared a state of emergency, and asked McMaster to order an evacuation of Zone A in Myrtle Beach, said Councilman Johnny Vaught.

It’s up to each county to request evacuations before the governor can give the order.

Zone A in Horry County encompasses coastal properties that would be directly impacted by a significant storm surge and hurricane-force winds.

Zone A includes:

  • All areas east of U.S. Business 17 up to the intersection with US 17
  • All areas east of U.S. 17 to the northern county line
    All flood prone areas along the Waccamaw River and the Great and Little Pee Dee Rivers, as well as all mobile home residents within Horry County.

Use the interactive map linked here to determine if your home is in the evacuation zone.

In addition to Zone A in Horry County, McMaster ordered the following evacuations along the coast:

  • Colleton County Zones A and B
  • Beaufort County Evacuation Zone A
  • Jasper County Evacuation Zone A
  • Charleston County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Dorchester County Evacuation Zone D
  • Berkeley County Evacuation Zones B, G
  • Georgetown County Evacuation Zone A

McMaster said Sunday afternoon he would hold off on making a decision until forecasting determined Dorians’s northward turn, but issued the order just hours later.

“As the president said, we’ve not seen such power in a hurricane,” McMaster said.

The catastrophic Category 5 storm pounded the Northern Bahamas Sunday with wind gusts over 220 mph and a storm surge up to 23 feet along with higher destructive waves, the National Hurricane Center reported.

The latest forecast Sunday evening shows Dorian approaching the Grand Strand mid Thursday afternoon with maximum wind speeds of 105 mph and gusts of 125 mph — a Category 2 storm.

The forecast cone is being updated every few hours by the National Hurricane Center, the most recent shows winds increasing slightly off South Carolina’s coast. 

The full impacts along the Carolinas are expected to be clearer once Dorian makes her northern turn Monday into Tuesday.

Landfall has yet to be forecast in the southeast U.S.

If Dorian makes her turn closer to the Carolinas, residents will only have a couple of days to prepare.

So get prepared, the governor said.

“We live on the coast so we’re going to have hurricanes. This is one of them,” McMaster said.

The South Carolina National Guard, state law enforcement and first responders are already fully mobilized under the state of emergency declaration issued by McMaster on Saturday.

The state also put all private dam owners on notice that water levels may need to be lowered if rainfall forecasts call for significant amounts.