CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD & AP) — Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says that although the city that draws millions of tourists a year is known widely for its hospitality, he wants everyone to leave town as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
City officials warn that the heavy rains and storm surge from Matthew could combine to cause flooding worse than the floods the city saw a year ago.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Tecklenburg asked residents to pack up what they need, secure their property and get out of town.
City officials say that the first rains from the storm are expected to move in late Friday and conditions will deteriorate into Saturday.
Police Chief Greg Mullen warns that at the height of the storm, police and emergency personnel will be pulled off the streets and there won’t be the usual rapid response to 911 calls.
Charleston City Council held an emergency meeting telephonically today at 3:15 p.m. and passed the following:
- An Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in the City;
- An Emergency Ordinance prohibiting price gouging;
- An Emergency Ordinance authorizing the closure of streets;
- An Emergency Ordinance allowing the Mayor to establish a curfew if and when it is needed; and
- An Emergency Ordinance allowing the Mayor to close the peninsula to outsiders if and when it is needed.
The Executive Order and the Ordinances regarding the price gouging and street closures went into effect immediately.
The Ordinances regarding the curfew and peninsula closure are not currently in effect. They will be implemented by the Mayor when and if circumstances warrant.
Charleston City Council will hold an emergency meeting telephonically at 3:00 p.m. Friday, October 7 for a briefing on Hurricane Matthew.