September 2, 20191:45 pm
“We know we can’t make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive,” South Carolina’s governor says of mandatory evacuations.
Sept. 1, 2019, 5:27 AM EDT / Updated Sept. 2, 2019, 12:13 AM EDT
By Alex Johnson, Yuliya Talmazan and Kalhan Rosenblatt
The governors of South Carolina and Georgia ordered at least 1 million people to evacuate their coasts beginning Monday after Hurricane Dorian left devastation in the northwest Bahamas and headed for the U.S. East Coast.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp both announced mandatory evacuation orders to take effect at noon Monday in advance of the slow-moving, Category 5 hurricane.
The South Carolina order covers all of Beaufort and Charleston counties and parts of the rest of the state’s coastal counties, which state officials estimated covered 830,000 people.
The Georgia order covers people who live east of Interstate 95 in the counties along the Atlantic coast; that includes Savannah and most of its 150,000 residents, as well as more than 50,000 in coastal communities like Brunswick, St. Marys and Richmond Hill. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, in Camden County, told its 15,000 military and civilian personnel and their families to expect an announcement soon.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster acknowledged the difficulty in moving so many people out of the area at one time, but said he couldn’t risk undertaking the evacuations in stages. The state Public Safety and Transportation departments said they would reverse the direction of traffic along evacuation routes to ease the flow.
“We know we can’t make everybody happy, but we believe we can keep everyone alive,” McMaster said.
Kemp announced his evacuation orders in a statement late Sunday.
Dorian was forecast to have a long life, remaining a hurricane for the next five days. Hurricane watches and warnings were already in effect Sunday afternoon for parts of the Florida coast, where the storm was expected to move “dangerously close” beginning Monday night or Tuesday, forecasters said.
A hurricane warning was issued for Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia-Brevard county line in Florida, while a hurricane watch was issued from the Volusia-Brevard line to the Georgia line. Forecasters said Dorian was expected to arrive along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts sometime midweek.
“We are preparing for the worst, but we are praying for the best,” said Elliott Summey, chairman of the Charleston County, South Carolina, Council.
North Carolina, meanwhile, also “has to take this storm seriously,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday. “Be ready. It might be far away, but it is already kicking up rip tides at our coast.”
Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon with estimated sustained surface winds of 185 mph and gusts reaching 220 mph at Elbow Cay, Abacos, in the northern Bahamas. The power of the storm was second only to that of Hurricane Allen in 1980, with its 190 mph winds.
“It is not very often that we measure such strong winds,” the hurricane center said.
Source: NBC News