Columbia, SC - Officials in several low country South Carolina counties are on alert status as the state emergency preparedness officials prepare for Hurricane Matthew. Matthew is now being reported as a category four storm. It had obtained the rating of category five, the strongest designation a hurricane can earn late last week, but has weakend slightly over the weekend.
State Emergency Management Division officials have advanced the state to 'OpCon 4' as the storm churns north from the Caribbean.
Officials in our coastal counties like Beaufort, Charleston, Georgetown, and Horry are taking steps to bring their counties emergencies services to their highest preparedness levels in case the storm makes landfall in South Carolina.
Kim Stenson, South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division Director, held several conference calls over the weekend with county emergency managers, response team officials, and representatives of the National Weather Service offices in our state. At this time, state emergency officials say that the track of the storm is much too uncertain to say exactly when and where the US mainland will be hit if it is hit at all.
Hurricane Matthew is the strongest hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season so far.
Sunday Monday morning, Matthew was reportedly located southwest of the island Jamaica. It was expected to travel north and pass between the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola and then push into the Bahamas. It may hit there on or around Wednesday of this week.
According to Christopher Jackson of Lexington County, traditional a very accurate weather forecaster, Hurricane Matthew is going to demand the attention of everyone from Florida to Massachusetts over the next week or so. He urges his followers not to ignore or dismiss messages from local and state level emergency managers. In praising the precautionary stance of the state’s EPD, Jackson said on his Facebook page over the weekend, “If Matthew causes us any issues, it looks like he would sometime around next Friday or Saturday. This gives everyone almost a week to prepare which is absolutely fantastic in my opinion.”
Lexington County officials are closely monitoring the situation so that they can begin to upgrade their emergency operational status as the situation dictates. All resident of the state should review their own personal emergency plans and check emergency supplies that might be needed in the event of strong winds, heavy rains, and other weather that could bring down power lines or close roads.