Power crews from S.C. Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper braced for heavy rain and wind from Hurricane Florence as the Category 1 storm lashed North Carolina after making landfall near Wrightsville Beach this morning.
“Regardless of this storm’s exact path, we anticipate Florence will bring dangerous winds and the potential for heavy rain and flooding across our service territory, which could result in significant power outages for our customers,” Bill Turner, SCE&G vice president of operations, said in a news release. “We have worked for years to strengthen our system against the impacts of severe weather, and our response for this particular event has already begun. We ask that all of our customers stand ready to execute their plans as well.”
Turner said crews will begin restoring power as soon as it is safe to do so. Click here for a look at how SCE&G crews restore power.
Customers can monitor power outages in their area on our website at https://www.sceg.com/outages-emergencies/power-outages/outage-map. Outages can be reported by text with a registered mobile device or by calling 888-333-4465.
SCE&G released water from Lake Murray through its Saluda Hydro facility in anticipation of the storm’s impact on the Saluda Basin. The utility was also closely monitoring storm conditions in case high winds forced the shutdown of the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in Fairfield County. Officials said the plant would be shut down if winds exceeded 75 mph.
Santee Cooper said it will have around 130 line and trees crews – four time the number during normal conditions – working to restore power. More than 70 crews are coming to assist from Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Missouri, the utility said.
In the Upstate, Duke Energy estimated power outages in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence could be between 1 million and 3 million customers, based on the latest storm track. As a result, the company said it will have more than 20,000 workers in place to begin restoring power once the storm has passed.
Duke Energy warned customers that Hurricane Florence “is no ordinary storm and some customers could be without power for a very long time — not days, but weeks,” the company said in the release.
“We expect significant impacts from this storm for almost all of our customers in the Carolinas, including the Upstate,” Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier told GSA Business Report.
The city of Columbia is staffing an information number for residents with non-emergency questions and requests during Hurricane Florence operations. Residents may call 803-545-3300.
Richland County will open an emergency shelter for pets at 3216 Broad River Road today at 5 p.m. The shelter is for dogs and cats only, the county said. Dogs must be on a lease and cats must be in a carrier, and only pets with up-to-date rabies vaccinations will be accepted. Pet owners must provide food, water and other daily care. One family member will be allowed inside the shelter in the morning and in the evening during the pet's stay.
Several city events have been postponed as the storm approaches.
- Moth Night, scheduled for Friday at Granby Park and hosted by the parks and recreation department and the Midlands Master Naturalist Association, will be held at a date in October to be announced.
- Bierkeller’s Oktoberfest at Riverfront Park, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed and will be rescheduled.
- The city’s Planning and Development Services has rescheduled the Historic Melrose Scavenger Hunt, originally slated for Sunday. The event will take place Sept. 23.
- The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk scheduled for today has been canceled. Registered participants for the event, which honors first responders and military service members, can pick up their race shirts at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. till 7 p.m.
- The University of South Carolina has canceled classes through Monday and canceled its home football game against Marshall on Saturday night. The school said it will look to schedule another regular-season game.
- Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens will be closed today through Sunday.
- The Charles R. Drew Wellness Center and city of Columbia parks and recreation centers will be closed today through Sunday.
- Richland County offices, excluding essential personnel, will be closed today and Monday. Curbside collections of trash and recycling scheduled for today will operate on a normal schedule to ensure bins are emptied, though yard waste collection will be delayed one week.
- City of Columbia offices are closed today.
- Pedestrian and bicyclist counts scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday have been canceled. Volunteers signed up for counts on those days can count on Sept. 22 or Sept. 29. caution and in anticipation of Hurricane Florence, the City’s Planning and Development Services. Volunteers scheduled to count Tuesday can count on Sept. 19, Sept. 20, Sept. 25, Sept. 26 or Sept. 27. The city also added new dates of Sept. 25, Sept. 25, Sept. 27 or Sept. 29.
- The West Columbia Riverwalk is closed.
- Dominion Energy's meet-and-greet scheduled for Tuesday at Brookland Conference Center in West Columbia has been postponed until Oct. 9.
- Central Carolina Community Foundation is accepting donations to the One SC Fund to support nonprofits responding to state residents affected by Hurricane Florence. The fund was established in 2015 after the historic flood and helps people recovering from state-declared emergencies. It has awarded more than $3.4 million in grants to date. Donations may be made at www.OneSCFund.org.
- AT&T is providing a text to donate program for storm recovery efforts in South Carolina. Text FLORENCE to 90999 to give $10 to Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
- Wild Adventures Theme Park in south Georgia is offering free admission to those displaced by the storm on Saturday and Sunday. People with identification from North and South Carolina and Virginia counties under evacuation orders will be admitted to the park without charge.