Power outages still widespread in SC, but rain from storm Ian tapering off Friday night

Tens of thousands of South Carolinians still without power as of Friday night

8:12 p.m.

The Columbia area is no longer under a tropical storm warning, and a flood watch for the Midlands was also canceled as night fell and storm Ian, downgraded a few hours ago to a post-tropical cyclone, continued to move north into North Carolina.

More than 135,000 people in South Carolina were still without power Friday night, though that number was down from more than 200,000 earlier in the day.

Dominion Energy was reporting than 52,000 customers were impacted by outages as of 7:53 p.m. Friday. Many of those were in coastal areas, though there were outage across the Midlands as well.

Electrical cooperatives across the state reported nearly 32,000 meters were without power at about 8 p.m. Friday.

Duke Energy reported more than 21,000 customers were without power in South Carolina as of 8 p.m. Friday.

And about 30,000 Santee Cooper customers in the Myrtle Beach area were still without power as of 8 p.m. Friday.

The outages were triggered by the effects of the storm Ian, which came onshore in South Carolina Friday as a hurricane, but was later downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. As of 8:17 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service noted that the heaviest of rain from Ian was tapering off in the Columbia area, and that the flood watch for the central and eastern Midlands had been canceled.

The strongest winds in the region, up to 35-45 mph, will stick to the northeastern edge of the Midlands, the weather service predicted, while less than half an inch of rain is expected to fall in the Midlands through the remainder of Saturday.

- Chris Trainor, The State

As Ian begins to fade from Columbia area, officials urge caution

6:37 p.m.

Officials with Richland County continued to urge residents to be vigilant, even as post-tropical cyclone Ian prepares to exit the Columbia area.

“From our Emergency Management team: While impact from Ian has been relatively mild in the County, we ask residents to please stay cautious, especially on roadways and stay at home, if possible,” the county tweeted Friday evening. “Ponding is a major concern, and we are already seeing more drivers on the roads.”

The county went on to warn, “Tonight, gusty winds combined with over-saturated grounds could lead to damage from falling trees, posing more dangers for drivers. While conditions might be clearing up where we are, it’s still best to stay home if you can. Thanks, and please be safe!”

- Chris Trainor, The State

Tropical storm warning dropped for parts of the Midlands

5:51 p.m.

With its latest update early Friday evening, the National Weather Service noted the tropical storm warning associated with Post-tropical cyclone Ian had been dropped in several western Midlands counties and parts of the CSRA.

Barnwell, Edgefield, Newberry and Saluda counties were no longer under the tropical storm warning, per the NWS. However, Richland, Lexington, Sumter and other areas in the eastern Midlands remained under the warning.

The NWS noted heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding in those eastern Midlands areas and parts of the Pee Dee remained possible Friday night.

- Chris Trainor, The State

State workers have responded to 500 downed trees Friday

5:33 p.m.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation said that it had responded to more than 500 calls for fallen trees across the state as of 5 p.m. Friday amid the powerful storm Ian that made landfall in South Carolina as a hurricane.

“So far today, our SCDOT crews have responded to over 500 calls for downed trees,” the department said in a Friday Tweet. “This SCDOT crew from Laurens County is working in the Charleston area to clear trees from the roadway. If you don’t have to. #ian”

If you need to report a downed tree in a roadway, call 1-855-GO-SCDOT.

- Chris Trainor, The State

Powerful storm Ian becomes a ‘post-tropical cyclone’ late Friday

5 p.m.

Ian, which made landfall along the South Carolina coast as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday afternoon, has now become a post-tropical cyclone, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane center was quick to warn, however, that Ian could continue to produce “dangerous storm surge, flash flooding and a high wind threat.”

The storm was continuing to move north at 5 p.m. Friday at about 15 mph. The Lexington and Columbia area remained rainy, with a flood watch in effect for the area as of 5:12 p.m. The Columbia area was receiving winds at 15-25 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph and above.

- Chris Trainor, The State

Columbia Police respond after large tree goes down on Coleman Street

4:44 p.m.

The Columbia Police Department was on the scene late Friday afternoon after a massive tree fell on Coleman Street not far from downtown Columbia.

#ColumbiaPDSC officers & @ColaFire have been dispatched to the 3400 block of Coleman Street after a tree toppled onto this house & car,” the Columbia Police Department tweeted. “No reported injuries.”

The tree was directly on top of a garnet Honda crossover SUV.

- Chris Trainor, The State

Numerous SC piers battered by Hurricane Ian

4:15 p.m.

At least four piers in the Myrtle Beach area have been heavily damaged by Hurricane Ian, Morgan Hughes and Chase Karacostas report.

In the south, the end of Pawleys Island’s pier collapsed and floated south into the Atlantic Ocean as Hurricane Ian made its powerful approach to South Carolina after 1 p.m. Friday.

In the north, a portion of the Cherry Grove Pier has also collapsed. Its neighbor, the Sea Cabin Pier in North Myrtle Beach, also suffered a partial collapse in 2020 due to storm surges and winds from Hurricane Isaias. The Sea Cabin Pier reopened in 2021, nearly a year after Hurricane Isaias.

A third Myrtle Beach-area pier, the Apache Pier, has also partially collapsed, WPDE chief meteorologist Ed Piotrowski reported on Twitter.

And Hurricane Ian ripped off part of Myrtle Beach’s 2nd Avenue pier. A photo posted by WMBF News on Twitter showed a raft of wood more than 15 feet long floating off into the ocean after detaching from the pier.

Charleston back to full police service after officers sheltered in place

3:52 p.m.

Officers with the Charleston Police Department were back in full service late Friday afternoon after sheltering in place during the height of Hurricane Ian’s presence in the Holy City.

“Our officers have completed sheltering in place,” the CPD tweeted at 3 p.m. “Full police service has been restored.”

Earlier in the afternoon, the department had warned that it would only be responding to the most critical calls for service, and that officers would shelter until the worst of the storm had passed.

- Chris Trainor, The State

Hundreds of thousands of people without power in SC

3:30 p.m.

About 200,000 people were without power in South Carolina as of 3 p.m. Friday, as Hurricane Ian made its way into the Palmetto State.

According to reporter Morgan Hughes, Dominion Energy reported more than 107,000 customers were impacted by outages as of 2:45 p.m. Friday, up from the 55,000 customers without power just before 1 p.m. Those outages had been largely near the coast and in the eastern portion of the state but have begun to reach the Midlands.

Electric co-ops across the state reported nearly 57,000 meters were without power around 3 p.m., while Duke Energy reported more than 74,000 customers were without power between North and South Carolina.

Santee Cooper reported about 27,000 people were without power in the Myrtle Beach area as of 3 p.m., and just less than 2,000 customers were affected in the Summerville area.

- Chris Trainor, The State

Emergency officials warn people to stay out of flood waters

3 p.m.

With Hurricane Ian bringing large amounts of rain and flooding to various parts of South Carolina, the state Emergency Management Division is advising people to stay out of flood waters, for a number of reasons.

“Y’all. We have down powerlines on flooded roads, storm surge in local sewer systems, garbage cans floating down streets and all manner of ick knows what,” SCEMD tweeted on Friday afternoon. “STAY OUT OF FLOODED AREAS.”

- Chris Trainor, The State

Landfall confirmed near Georgetown SC

2:27 p.m.

Hurricane Ian has officially arrived in South Carolina.

The National Hurricane Center confirms that the eye of the Category 1 hurricane made landfall near Georgetown at 2:05 p.m. Friday.

The eyewall came ashore with sustained winds of 85 mph, the national weather center says. The landing site was approximately 90 km (56 miles) northeast of Charleston. The Sun News has a full story on the event.

Coastal areas are dealing with high winds and storm surges, while areas inland will continue to deal with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rainfall for the remainder of Friday, officials warn.

Pawleys Island pier collapses in storm surge; landfall “anytime now”

1:53 PM

The end of Pawleys Island’s pier collapsed and floated south into the Atlanic Ocean as Hurricane Ian made its powerful approach to South Carolina.

The town’s police department announced the damage via Twitter just before 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, shortly before Ian was expected to make landfall.

Forecasters tell the Myrtle Beach Sun News that Hurricane Ian could make landfall “anytime now” on the northern coast of South Carolina. Wind speeds of 85 mph are expected in the Grand Strand area.

1:26 PM

The Charleston Police Department has ordered its officers to shelter in place at police substations. They will only be responding to “critical” calls, according to a statement released on Twitter.

A flashflood warning has been put in place for Charleston and Berkeley Counties. ABC News 4 has reported flooding in downtown Charleston.

1:17 PM

Widespread flooding reported in Folly Beach. Live 5 News reported that many of the side streets in downtown Folly Beach have been flooded and there are reports of power outages. ABC News 4 anchor reported hearing the sound of exploding transformers.

Earlier Friday, the City of Folly Beach declared a state of emergency and city operations have moved to OPCON1, the highest level of preparedness.

Biden, McMaster speak to discuss Ian response

12:25 PM

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster spoke with President Joe Biden on Friday to discuss the state and federal response to Hurricane Ian.

The White House released a “readout,” or a short summary of the call, around 12:11 p.m. The readout said the two men discussed the steps Biden’s administration is taking to address the hurricane’s expected impact on South Carolina.

“The President told the Governor that the Administration is here to provide whatever assistance the people of South Carolina need, and asked the Governor to stay in touch,” the readout says.

Late Thursday, the Biden administration formally declared a federal emergency in South Carolina, releasing money FEMA can use to assist those affected by the storm.

McMaster is scheduled to address storm preparations at 12:30 p.m. His press conference will be carried on SCETV.org.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Rising waters on SC coast

12 PM

Rising waters are beginning to have an impact on South Carolina’s coastal areas as Hurricane Ian swirls off shore.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Myrtle Beach TV station WMBF tweeted video of waters rising over the Linwood Altman Causeway, the main connector to the northern end of Pawleys Island.

Further down the coast, the city of Charleston is closing Murray Boulevard on the southern tip of the peninsula as the waters of Charleston Harbor threaten to overrun the Battery, ABC News 4 reports.

Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall on the South Carolina coast later this afternoon somewhere northeast of Charleston. The entire Palmetto State coastline is under a storm surge warning as residents face high winds and rain.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Last flight leaves Columbia airport ahead of Ian

11:40 AM

The last flight of the day left Columbia Metropolitan Airport around 10:30 a.m. Friday. The Midlands airport has no further flights scheduled until service resumes on Saturday, a spokesperson confirmed to The State.

Other airports around South Carolina are also keeping planes out of the air as Hurricane Ian approaches. Charleston International Airport also suspended flights for the day Friday as wind speeds reached 40 mph, ABC News reports.

Myrtle Beach International Airport had also suspended all flights for the day shortly after 6 a.m., the Sun News reported.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Coastal Waffle Houses defy Ian, keep the plates coming

11:06 AM

At least one metric is predicting only minor inconvenience from Hurricane Ian in the Myrtle Beach area. The Sun News confirmed that six local Waffle Houses were all planning to operate as normal on Friday.

That’s good news if you measure the danger of a hurricane by the Waffle House Index, the quasi-serious means of gauging bad weather by whether or not the ubiquitous diner has to change its operations.

More seriously, local officials are warning that storm surges in Horry County could lead to flash flooding in addition to damage from hurricane-force winds as Ian is projected to make landfall south of Myrtle Beach on Friday afternoon.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Biden declares federal emergency in SC

9:44 AM

President Joe Biden overnight declared a federal emergency in South Carolina due to the approach of Hurricane Ian, and directed federal agencies to assist the state in its hurricane response.

The president’s declaration directs the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population.”

The move will allow additional federal funds and support to help people affected by Ian. S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency earlier this week. That order did not call for an evacuation of the state’s coastal counties, and left it up to local school districts to decide whether or not to close schools ahead of Ian’s arrival.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

The streets and boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach were empty Friday morning as Hurricane Ian inches closer as a category 1 storm. Chris Segal/Sun News
The streets and boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach were empty Friday morning as Hurricane Ian inches closer as a category 1 storm. Chris Segal/Sun News

Irmo woman cut out of car after being hit by falling tree

8:57 AM

A woman was driving on Piney Grove Road early Friday morning when stormy conditions caused a tree to fall onto her car.

Firefighters from the Irmo Fire District responded when the vehicle’s roof was crushed by a large pine tree knocked over by the wind as the woman drove down the street. The car continued down Piney Grove for several hundred more yards before coming to a stop in someone’s yard against another tree, the fire district said.

The woman was trapped inside the vehicle, while firefighters and Lexington County EMS worked to remove her. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive, firefighters said.

Emergency officials urge drivers to use caution due to tropical storm conditions in the Midlands caused by Hurricane Ian, and to avoid unnecessary travel.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Watch as Hurricane Ian moves ashore in South Carolina

8:20 AM

The State’s sister papers at the Myrtle Beach Sun News and the Hilton Head Island Packet are keeping a live eye on Hurricane Ian’s progress toward the South Carolina coast.

You can watch live camera shots of South Carolina’s beaches ranging from North Myrtle Beach’s Cherry Grove Pier to Tybee Island as the coast prepares for the hurricane to make landfall around 2 p.m. Friday.

Coastal South Carolina is under a storm surge warning ahead of Ian’s arrival as locals prepare for hurricane-force winds and potential flooding later on Friday. Ian is projected to come ashore as a Category 1 hurricane near Georgetown, between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

The latest projections from the National Weather Service show the storm’s track shifting toward the east, and the storm is expected to pass over the eastern half of South Carolina through Friday evening.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

The streets and boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach were empty Friday morning as Hurricane Ian inches closer as a category 1 storm. Chris Segal/Sun News
The streets and boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach were empty Friday morning as Hurricane Ian inches closer as a category 1 storm. Chris Segal/Sun News

Sporadic power outages across SC

7:37 A.M.

Dominion Energy reports that more than 7,000 power customers have been affected by the high winds brought by Hurricane Ian off the South Carolina coast on Friday morning.

Almost 1,000 Dominion customers in Lexington and Richland counties are experiencing outages early Friday morning, according to Dominion’s statewide outage map.

Other energy providers are experiencing similar problems. In Richland County, Fairfield Electric Cooperative reports that 53 customer meters are without power as of 7:30 a.m.

Customers should report power outages to their electric provider here.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

Parts of the Midlands could lose power thanks to Hurricane Ian. Check the outage maps for your area here

What’s the latest Ian forecast for the Columbia area?

7:03 A.M.

The National Weather Service’s Columbia office is forecasting heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 60 mph for parts of the S.C. Midlands on Friday.

In a 6 a.m. weather briefing, the NWS warned that flooding is possible, especially in the eastern parts of the area that will be worst hit as Hurricane Ian passes over later on Friday. Up to six inches of rain is forecast for the area and wind speeds of 50 to 60 mph are expected.

All counties in the area are under a tropical storm warning Friday, with storm force winds expected. A flood watch is also in effect for the central and eastern Midlands, including Richland and Lexington counties.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com

South Carolina braces for Ian impact

6 A.M.

South Carolina is hunkered down as Hurricane Ian is projected to make landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane.

As of early Friday, the South Carolina coast is under a hurricane warning, with the National Weather Service predicting wind speeds between 50 and 60 mph in the Columbia area.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is preparing for Ian to make landfall near Georgetown between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, days after the storm left parts of central Florida under water. Ian passed into the Atlantic late Wednesday as a tropical storm, but regained strength before turning back toward the South Carolina coast.

For the Midlands, the largest danger will come from heavy rain and flash flooding in some areas, the National Weather Service warns. The eye of the storm is expecting to pass somewhere east of Columbia around 8 p.m. Friday.

The State will update this feed throughout the day on Friday as Ian lashes South Carolina.

- Bristow Marchant, bmarchant@thestate.com