Hurricane Michael downgraded overnight into a tropical storm, as expected, before crossing into South Carolina early Thursday.
As of 11 a.m., Michael’s center was crossing into Lancaster, continuing to move northeast. More than 150,000 power outages were reported across the state by various utilities early Thursday morning, although that number is continuing to drop.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker said Michael could still cause problems. “We’re expecting a high wind event,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “Maybe the possibility of tornadoes.”
Flooding impacted some homes in a northwest Columbia neighborhood, although no injuries were reported. Winds also toppled scores of trees and forced some road closures.
South Carolina residents and visitors in potentially vulnerable areas should continue to monitor the official forecasts from the National Hurricane Center. All official recommendations concerning personal safety will be based on the best available information from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service and in coordination with local and state public safety officials.
“Not as much as much as rain as we saw with Florence that’s a good thing, but everybody in the state should be prepared for serve weather,” said Becker.
Residents should take the following safety precautions:
- Have a plan for where you will go if conditions become too unsafe to remain in your home.
- Create your emergency plan by visiting scemd.org or downloading the SC Emergency Manager mobile app:http://onelink.to/dn92rx.
- Have an emergency kit with items such as: bottled water, non-perishable food and flashlights with extra batteries. Refer to the preparedness checklists in the 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide.
- Include items for your pets in your emergency kit.
- Prepare your home or business by securing any items you have in your yard by taking them indoors.
- The probability of power outages is increased due to tropical storm force winds.
- Make sure you have some cash in case of power outages.
- Frequently monitor weather conditions and be aware that tornadoes are likely spawned during a hurricane or tropical storm.
- If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately. Take shelter immediately in a house or small building. If there is no basement, go to an interior room on the lowest level. Get under a sturdy table and cover your head. Stay there until the danger has passed.
- In a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch and cover your head. Do not attempt to outdrive a tornado.
- Keep all of your important papers in a watertight bag.
- Check with your pharmacy to make sure all-important medications are filled.
Residents should continue to monitor local media and official, verified social media accounts from public safety agencies for the latest information.