Hurricane Florence preps in Allendale, South Carolina

ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the closing of state government and schools starting Tuesday for a number of counties in our viewing area including Allendale County.

"We are asking the citizens to be prepared," Gidget Stanely-Banks told NewsChannel 6's Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Residents and officials in a number of counties in our viewing area including Allendale are preparing for the worst.

"We are partially activated as we get closer to the storm, we will fully activate the EOC," Stanely-Banks added.

Stanely-Banks is Allendale County's Emergency Management Director.  She says her team is preparing to help whoever needs it.

"Now we are preparing to take evacuees from Beaufort County to come in," she added.

The governor is ordering lane reversals effective 12 noon Tuesday for highways in Charleston and Myrtle Beach.  Reversals in Beaufort County will be ready at noon, as well, but will reverse when needed.

"When evacuations start, the shelter will be open," Stanely-Banks said.

Allendale County Schools will serve as a shelter.  Superintendent Dr. Margaret Gilmore says her crew is ready.

"The school district will have cafeteria staff on site to ensure our evacuees eat every day," Gilmore said. "Our custodial staff will be there to ensure that our restrooms are clean we also have security there to ensure that everyone is safe," she added.

Neighbors will help neighbors if the time comes.

"We have mutual aid agreements with all 46 counties, Stanely-Banks added." "The state has mutual aid agreements so one county that is not affected, they can come in and help," she added.

Sandbags are already ordered and due to arrive soon for County buildings."We are asking the citizens to be prepared, themselves, to take care of their homes but have extras [sandbags], we will help them," she stated.

Officials are asking you to call 911 only if it's an emergency. "Do not call 911 if your power is out, call your local power company," Stanely-Banks said. 

At the Allendale IGA, at around 3 p.m., bread and water were still on the shelves.

"Right now, getting some water," Frank Allen said while speaking with Shawn at the IGA. 

"If it does come, at least I'll have something to snack on," Ms. Gilbert told Shawn.

Officials reiterate the now is the time to prepare.

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