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Gov. McMaster declares state of emergency in South Carolina

The state is expecting heavy rainfall across the region, with possible additional hazards on the coast.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency as the state prepares for Hurricane Ian, as a weakened version of the storm is expected to affect the state later this week.

FORECAST: Latest on the Ian's Impacts on South Carolina

McMaster made the announcement Wednesday at a briefing with leaders of key state agencies at the state's emergency operations center.  The declaration doesn't mean a major disaster is imminent; rather, it means that the state is now better positions to coordinate emergency responses. It also suspends some regulations which may slow the distribution of goods and services.

 “We do know we’ll see a lot of rain and significant storm surge on our coastline over the coming days," McMaster said. "Now is the time for each South Carolinian to make plans for every contingency and be prepared.”

Kim Stenson, the director of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, said people should have flashlights, batteries, and 

No evacuations are being ordered for any part of the state, no state offices are closed, and no school systems are being ordered to shut down, although many districts are adjusting their plans for Thursday and Friday.

The head of the state's health agency says there is no plan to evacuate hospitals or other health centers. 

Ian made landfall in Florida Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane and will push across the state through Thursday. The storm will then exit out on the east coast of Florida. Current models have the storm then curving back toward South Carolina with a projected landfall in the Palmetto State Friday morning.

RELATED: Hurricane Ian makes landfall as Cat 4

The storm is expected to bring light rain Thursday night in advance of the storm, and then will switch to heavy rain by Friday morning. The rain will persist all day Friday and perhaps into Saturday, with flash flooding and torrential downpours possible.

RELATED: Midlands school districts plan early dismissal, e-learning days Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Ian

Forecast models vary, but the rainfall totals could be between 3 and 8 inches by the end of the storm. We could also see gusty winds that could lead to power outages. 

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire South Carolina coast while a hurricane watch is in effect from the Georgia-South Carolina line to just north of Charleston.

In advance of the storm, many public events scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled or rescheduled. Most public school district have also switched to an e-learning day for Friday, which some elected to cut class early on Thursday. 

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