Hurricane Florence Update 09-19-2018

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 - updated at 12 p.m.

Hurricane Over Southern United States

This page will be updated regularly as information becomes available.

DHEC is closely monitoring developments with Hurricane Florence. We are working with Governor McMaster and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division in accordance with the South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan and the South Carolina Hurricane Plan.

Stay tuned to your local weather forecast and get the latest information about our preparation and response efforts by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

In response to Hurricane Florence, DHEC staff continues to actively assess and respond to ongoing public health and environmental needs across the state. For important information on the steps you can take, please visit our hurricane preparedness page.

Latest Updates:

As part of our preparedness efforts, DHEC has taken the following actions (updated at 12 p.m. on 09/19/2018):

  • More than 700 DHEC staff have been dispatched as part of our emergency response efforts.
  • Our call centers have fielded more than 5,800 calls assisting the public with questions related to special medical needs, health department services and other general concern


Health Care Facilities:

On September 16, 2018, the Governor lifted the Mandatory Medical Evacuation (MME) order for health care facilities regulated by DHEC.

DHEC continues to communicate with healthcare facilities that evacuated ahead of the storm to assess and monitor their status, identify any needs or issues they may have, and provide re-entry assistance as needed.

The Department also is working with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and local emergency management officials to monitor projected flooding and ensure potentially impacted healthcare facilities are addressed as needed.

Special Medical Needs Shelters:

DHEC has 2 special medical needs shelters open to provide shelter for people whose medical conditions exceed the capabilities of the general population shelters but are not severe enough to require a hospital stay. These are individuals who live at home and have a health condition that requires specialized, electric-powered equipment or need medication that requires refrigeration. Individuals in these shelters must bring an adult caregiver with them to care for them. We do not provide health care services in these shelters. *NOTE: if you think you may need this type of shelter, please call our CARELINE at 1-855-4SC-DHEC (1-855-472-3432).


DHEC assessed 262 dams prior to the storm. The Department utilized the CodeRED system multiple times to notify more than 2,000 dam owners via voice call, text message and email. Dam owners were urged to evaluate their water levels and coordinate lowering levels with other owners downstream to avoid flooding.

DHEC and the US Army Corps of Engineers have conducted 264 post-storm assessments of regulated dams. Over the course of the heavy rain, there were several dams in the Pee Dee region that overtopped. As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, DHEC had confirmed 10 regulated dams had breached:

  • Lakewind (significant-hazard) – Chesterfield County
  • Crawford Pond (low-hazard) – Chesterfield County
  • Jordan Pond (significant-hazard) – Darlington County
  • Lake Darpo (low-hazard) – Darlington County
  • Springwood Lake (low-hazard) – Darlington County
  • Baxley 501 Pond (significant-hazard) – Marion County
  • McMeeken (low-hazard) – Marlboro County
  • McLaurins Mill Pond (significant-hazard) – Marlboro County
  • David’s Millpond (significant-hazard) – Marlboro County
  • Covington Millpond (low-hazard) – Marlboro County

NOTE: Understanding Dam Classifications

Unless exempted by law, dams regulated by DHEC are classified based on size and hazards, and must meet one of the following criteria:

  • 25 feet in height
  • impounds (holds back) 50 acre-feet or more of water
  • classified as a high-hazard dam, regardless of size

Hazard classification applies to potential loss of human life or property damage in the event of failure or improper operation of the dam or connected works.

  • High-hazard (C1) - Failure will likely cause loss of life or serious damage to infrastructure.
  • Significant-hazard (C2) - Failure will not likely cause loss of life but may damage infrastructure.
  • Low-hazard (C3) - Failure may cause limited property damage.

DHEC Office Closures:

DHEC follows the closings and delays of county offices. For example, if Beaufort County offices are closed, our health clinics and offices in the county will be closed as well. The latest information on delays and closures can be found at or on local media. We will update this information here as it becomes available.

Previous Updates:

Stay Connected

Stay tuned to your local weather forecast and get the latest information about our preparation and response efforts by following us on Twitter and Facebook.