[image-1]At least one emergency shelter has been opened in Charleston County as officials continue to warn residents of the pending threat of storm surge on low-lying areas.

As of 1 p.m. Sunday, a pet-friendly shelter was up and running at 3765 Leeds Ave. in North Charleston. All those bringing animals into the shelter are reminded to gather any pet supplies they may need, such a medications, food, crates, etc.

Corresponding with the opening of the shelter at 1 p.m., county school buses will circle evacuation routes around the area, stopping at designated evacuation pick-up bus stops to provide rides to the shelter. The locations of evacuation bus stops can be found in the county’s 2017 hurricane guide beginning on page 24. Those buses will remain running until 8 p.m. Sunday evening.

“I can’t stress it enough. If you are in a low-lying area that typically will flood, you need to consider leaving now,” said Cathy Haynes of the Charleston County Emergency Management Department.

Although Hurricane Irma is tracking well west of the South Carolina coast, local forecasts still call for strong winds, heavy rain, and increased storm surge. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg reminded residents during a Sunday briefing that 4-6 feet of storm surge is predicted, on top of already elevated high tides on Monday. High tide on Monday is scheduled to take place at 12:23 p.m. in Charleston Harbor.

In preparation for the upcoming chance of flooding, all city parking garages in downtown Charleston, with the exception of the Gaillard parking garage, have been opened and residents can store their vehicles free of charge for the duration of the flooding.

“The combination of the regular high tide midday tomorrow and 4-6 extra feet or excess high tide means that in all of our historic low-lying areas, we’re going to have some serious flooding tomorrow,” said Tecklenburg.

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