Hurricane Dorian

Final Update: September 9, 2019   

Hurricane approaching eastern coast of United States

As Hurricane Dorian threatened the South Carolina coast, hundreds of DHEC staff were active in preparing for anticipated public health and environmental needs, including assisting in the evacuation of coastal health care facilities and conducting pre-storm assessments of dams expected to be impacted by heavy rain and flooding.

Hurricane Dorian Response & Recovery

After the storm, DHEC continued its around-the-clock efforts to protect public health and the environment by coordinating the safe transport and reentry of more than 7,000 evacuated patients, communicating with impacted drinking water and wastewater facilities, and conducting coastal damage surveillance, among many other efforts.

As part of our Hurricane Dorian preparedness and response, DHEC took the following actions regarding public health:

  • More than 220 staff were activated around-the-clock leading up to and after the storm
  • Staff also provided resource assistance and coordinated communication with the S.C. Emergency Management Division
  • DHEC’s call centers fielded more than 700 calls assisting the public with questions related to special medical need shelters, health department services and other concerns
  • The department worked with 175 regulated health care facilities impacted by the Governor’s mandatory medical evacuation, including 13 hospitals, 25 nursing homes, and 92 assisted living facilities
  • Staff helped coordinate the evacuation of more than 7,000 patients from those facilities
  • Once the Governor lifted the evacuation order, DHEC assisted the affected facilities with following appropriate reentry procedures to ensure for the safe transport and reentry of patients and workers
  • DHEC coordinated the opening of five Special Medical Need Shelters that provide shelter for people whose medical conditions exceed the capabilities of general population shelters but are not severe enough to require hospitalization
  • The agency authorized a statewide, one-time early refill of Schedule III-V prescriptions for valid refills that were due within the next seven days

In addition, DHEC took the following actions related to environmental protection:

  • Prior to the storm, DHEC assessed more than 30 dams expected to receive more than five inches of rain or more
  • The agency’s Dam Safety Program utilized the CodeRED system to notify dam owners and operators in areas of concern and urge them to lower their water levels several days before the storm’s expected impact
  • DHEC conducted pre-storm assessments of drinking water and wastewater plants within potential flood inundation areas
  • DHEC issued blanket emergency orders to local governments allowing property owners along the immediate beachfront to conduct sand-scraping or install sandbags
  • DHEC closed summer shellfish harvesting along the coast
  • DHEC remained in close contact with water and wastewater systems in areas impacted by the hurricane regarding the status of their systems and support to their customers
  • DHEC conducted post-storm assessments of impacted dams; no major problems or breaches were observed
  • To facilitate the distribution of fuel to areas impacted by mandatory evacuations, DHEC requested and received a No Action Assurance letter from EPA
  • Following the storm, DHEC provided public messaging about post-storm safety, including avoiding contact with standing water and cautions for returning to damaged homes
  • Staff with DHEC’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management office conducted an aerial flyover along the coast to assess any severely impacted areas requiring the agency’s attention
  • The department provided helpful information for disposing of storm debris

For important information about how you can prepare for future weather emergencies, please visit our hurricane preparedness page, as well as the S.C. Emergency Management Division website.

Previous Updates


Dorian 2019 Hurricanes & Floods Statewide