COLUMBIA, S.C. — Power crews across the state are getting prepared for whatever impact Hurricane Isaias leaves on the Palmetto State.
Several cities and towns along the coast are getting prepared for the storm.
The City of Myrtle Beach has joined North Myrtle Beach, Conway and Horry County in a heightened state of emergency. Beaches are still open but the city doesn't want anyone to go in the water.
In Charleston, city emergency management officials asked people to stay off the road and be in a safe location by 6 p.m. City Council also passed an emergency ordinance to give the mayor the ability to implement a curfew if necessary. As of late Monday, there has not been a curfew put in place.
Hilton Head Island took several precautions. They have staff available Monday night in case of downed trees and other storm related issues. They also closed town hall at noon on Monday. Town and beach parks were also closed to discourage people from being out and about.
With hurricanes and tropical storms typically comes power outages. Depending on how bad the storms are, it could mean crews coming from out of state to help local power companies restore power.
Santee Cooper has been preparing for more than a week for Hurricane Isaias.
Mollie Gore, the Director of Corporate Communications for Santee Cooper, says they've been looking to determine where the crews will be placed.
"We've monitored the progress and the forecast. It's gone back and forth a little bit, even today," said Gore. "We've had crews planning through the weekend. We've got our storm centers all open and staffed at this point."
Santee Cooper has contract workers, in addition to their own crews, who will be on standby. According to the Electric Cooperative of South Carolina, they will have 16 additional people from the state to help out Santee Cooper. Horry County will be receiving 23 people from South Carolina and Georgia to assist crews.
In addition to having crews in Horry County, Santee Cooper will also have crews in Aiken, Orangeburg and Hardeeville in case the storm does impact those surrounding areas.
The state of South Carolina has had several hurricanes and tropical storms come through the area the last couple of years. After each storm, the crews meet together to debrief and figure out what they can improve on next time around. Due to the pandemic, it is making some changes to how they're operating.
"This is sort of an unique challenge because we have a pandemic that we're in the midst of" explained Gore. That added layer has been what steps do we take to make sure that we're protecting our own employees safety, certainly those of any contract workers who are here helping us and our customer safety."
Usually Santee Cooper's team would meet in-person prior to a storm hitting their coverage area. So far, all of their meetings for Isaias has been virtual.
"With the actual crew dispatched, it will be more of a decentralized dispatch. Our own crews will be reporting from home. They'll show up to the job site directly instead of coming to a storm center or a service center," said Gore.
When there's situations where they have to be together, crews will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing and cleaning.
Santee Cooper has line, tree and helicopter crews ready to go if the storm leaves an impact. They plan on having their retail offices in Moncks Corner and Myrtle Beach open during normal business hours and their phone service staffed for 24-hours until at least Wednesday morning.
"Be safe, make sure you have you've got your plan for your family if you are in an area that can be impacted," said Gore. "If you see a downed powerline, don't go near it, but please report it."
Santee Cooper said in a press release, "Customers can report outages at https://stormcenter.santeecooper.com or by calling 1-888-769-7688. For additional information on keeping yourself and your family safe during a hurricane, visit the Santee Cooper website at www.santeecooper.com."
Duke Energy announced on Monday they will have 2,200 workers available to help make repairs.
More than 300 workers from Duke Energy traveled from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky traveled to assist both North Carolina and South Carolina. There is also an additional 300 workers coming from Florida.
Duke Energy's Carolinas storm director Jason Hollifield said in a press release, "We recognize that during the COVID-19 pandemic customers are spending more time at home and even brief outages are inconvenient. Our team is ready to respond after the hurricane hits to minimize the effects to our customers, and we encourage customers in the projected path of this storm to make plans now to prepare their homes and families.”
To follow CDC guidelines, crews will be wearing masks when social distancing is not possible.
The company also said in a press release, "Duke Energy requests that customers remain outside of marked work zones and refrain from approaching repair crews."
There are several ways customers can report power outages. People can report it online at duke-energy.com, use the Duke Energy Mobile App, text out to 57801 or call the company's outage-reporting system at 1-800-POWERON or 800-419-6356.
For a list of safety tips from Duke Energy, click here.