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How COVID-19 is altering the path of S.C. hurricane preparations

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and other state officials discussed hurricane preparedness at a Thursday news conference.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and other state officials discussed hurricane preparedness at a Thursday news conference.(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 11:03 AM EDT
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Friday, June 5, 2020

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) -- Gov. Henry McMaster said the decision to evacuate South Carolina for any potential hurricanes in the future may be made early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Thursday afternoon news conference, McMaster said precautions for the virus would slow the movement of people and equipment throughout the state in the event a hurricane evacuation was ordered, and more time would be needed to allow people to get to safety.

“We will have to make decisions a little earlier than we normally would, because we’re going to have to allow for the time for that movement to take place,” the governor said. “So that complicates the situation.”

State officials said emergency officials and crews would work to keep people safe by working within health recommendations against the virus which includes practicing social distance.

“We haven’t had a hurricane and pandemic at the same time,” the governor said. “So that adds an extra level of complication.”

State emergency officials also announced that changes for shelters would also take place due to the virus.

Department of Social Services Director Mike Leach said planning officials were now identifying areas in every shelter to conduct screenings as well as maintain social distancing for those of high risk, and people being possibly exposed or testing positive for COVID-19.

Meals at shelters would now be boxed up for individuals.

McMaster said COVID-19 was still just as dangerous as it was before, and urged South Carolinians to continue to be careful and be smart.

Hurricane season began on Monday with two named storms already in the books. On Tuesday, Tropical Storm Cristobal formed in the Gulf of Mexico, setting a record for the earliest formation of a third Atlantic storm in hurricane season.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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