McMaster: ‘The real danger we have is human error’

Gov. Henry McMaster says South Carolina is no longer in its preparation phase for Hurricane Ian; it is now acting on its storm response plan.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 3:50 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 8:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster says South Carolina is no longer in its preparation phase for Hurricane Ian; it is now acting on its storm response plan.

McMaster said while the state is ready, he is concerned about human error and South Carolinians not taking the storm as seriously as they need to.

“[Ian] is stronger than some that we’ve had but weaker than others. But the concern is always human error and people taking chances, people driving on the roads when they can’t see the road, trying to go out in a hurry to get medication or to take care of or to do something they could have done before the rain and the wind were upon us and doing it last-minute,” he said. “Whether it’s a hurricane or tropical storm, you need to prepare.”

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for the entire South Carolina coastline Thursday morning. As of 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Ian into a Category 1 hurricane.

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“Forecast trends have become more concerning today in terms of potential impacts to South Carolina,” National Weather Service meteorologist John Quagliariello said.

The latest forecast, he said, calls for landfall along the central and northern part of the state. It will become the first hurricane to make landfall in South Carolina since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“Wind gusts could reach 60 to 70 mph along the coast and inland areas into the forecast track. There’s many other areas in the central and eastern portion of the state possibly seeing gusts of 45 to 60 mph at times. There’s a risk along portions of the central and northern South Carolina coast of hurricane force winds.”

He said those winds will result in downed trees and power lines, along with minor damage to roofs shingles and vinyl siding.

“Perhaps most concerning is the increased threat of storm surge flooding,” Quagliariello said. “Storm surge warnings are now in effect for the entire South Carolina coast.”

The storm surge could be as high as four to six feet along the southern coast and three to five feet in Georgetown, he said. Charleston’s high tide will roll in at noon, as the storm is already dumping rain and bring a storm surge into the area.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division Executive Director Kim Stenson said residents in low-lying areas, particularly along the coast, should have a plan to move to higher ground

McMaster declared a state of emergency Wednesday, which allows state agencies to bypass rules and regulations that might otherwise slow responses during an emergency situation. It also allows the state to draw down federal funds from FEMA faster.

He said he had been in contact with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and said South Carolina is ready to send any supplies this state does not need to help Florida residents recover from the impacts of Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

“We’ve prepared and gone through a lot of hurricanes and storms over the years,” McMaster said. “But it’s always, it’s always something that’s unexpected that typically could have been avoided if people thought a little more.”

He said while we can’t stop Mother Nature, “we can take care of ourselves,” which is why they try to sound the alarm so people can be repaired.