COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Matthew as it approaches South Carolina (all times local):
A state of emergency has been declared in Charleston because of approaching Hurricane Matthew.
The ordinance approved late Thursday by city council says Charleston is threatened by a hurricane that could result in vast damage or destruction to both commercial and residential buildings.
Council passed two other ordinances, including one outlawing price gouging in the event food, gas and other commodities are in short supply after the storm. The other allows police to close streets flooded or blocked by storm debris and makes it illegal for people to be on those streets.
Forecasters warn Matthew could bring rains and a storm surge that could cause flooding worse than that of a year ago when rains from a so-called 1,000-year storm forced the closing of the downtown area for several days.
Storm warnings are now in effect for the entire South Carolina coast as Hurricane Matthew approaches from the south.
The National Hurricane Center has posted hurricane warnings from central Florida north to the South Santee River between Charleston and Georgetown. Meanwhile, Tropical storm warnings are now in effect from the South Santee River northward to Surf City in North Carolina.
The warnings mean that hurricane or tropical storm conditions are expected in the warned area within 36 hours.
Rains and winds from Hurricane Thomas are expected to move into South Carolina on Friday and conditions will deteriorate during the day on Saturday.
Gov. Nikki Haley is ordering additional evacuations along the southern part of South Carolina’s coast to be safe from possible flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
Haley said Thursday that additional people in Colleton and Jasper County must go inland to avoid storm surge.
In Colleton County, the new evacuation routes are south of state Highway 63 and east of Interstate 95. In Jasper County, the order covers people south of state Highway 336 and west of U.S. Highway 321.
Other evacuations are ongoing in Beaufort, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties.
Hilton Head Island is eerily empty as Hurricane Matthew moves closer to South Carolina.
The Piggly Wiggly grocery store was about the only place open on the island Thursday afternoon. A steady stream of shoppers came through until it closed and boarded up at 3 p.m. Some were going to ride the storm out.
Otherwise, the island of 40,000 people was full of sprawling condominium complexes with empty parking lots and homes along the beachfront roads sitting empty and not even boarded up. The island has been under an evacuation order since 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Hilton Head Island is forecast to be closer to Hurricane Matthew’s eye than any place else in South Carolina. Forecasters are prediction 3 feet of storm surge over most of the island and winds gusting to at least hurricane strength.
South Carolina officials are extending the deadline to register to vote in this fall’s elections due to Hurricane Matthew.
The South Carolina Election Commission said Thursday that applications postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 11 will be accepted.
South Carolina’s deadline to register to vote by mail had been set for Saturday, Oct. 8. Post offices are closed Monday due to the Columbus Day federal holiday, and that’s another reason officials say they’re moving the deadline.
Online, email or fax applications are due by midnight, Oct. 9. Due to Hurricane Matthew, some counter voter registration offices are closed through Saturday.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says that although the city that draws millions of tourists a year is known widely for its hospitality, he wants everyone to leave town as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
City officials warn that the heavy rains and storm surge from Matthew could combine to cause flooding worse than the floods the city saw a year ago.
During a news conference Thursday, Tecklenburg asked residents to pack up what they need, secure their property and get out of town.
City officials say that the first rains from the storm are expected to move in late Friday and conditions will deteriorate into Saturday.
Police Chief Greg Mullen warns that at the height of the storm, police and emergency personnel will be pulled off the streets and there won’t be the usual rapid response to 911 calls.
The National Weather Service is posting flash flood watches for the entire South Carolina coast and warning that the combination of storm surge and rains from Hurricane Matthew could cause worse flooding in downtown Charleston than the October storm of a year ago.
During the October, 2015 flooding, the city was closed for several days.
Forecasters are posting flash flood watches on the coast from Friday morning through Saturday night.
An advisory warns that 8 to 14 inches of rain are expected with locally higher amounts. It said residents should be prepared for flash flooding, including the possibility of widespread street flooding and property damage on the Charleston peninsula.
Forecasters say the storm could bring severe flooding even though the center of Matthew is expected to stay offshore.
Forecasters are warning that Hurricane Matthew could inundate the coast of South Carolina just a year after what was called a 1,000-year flood closed Charleston for several days.
A forecast map issued by the National Weather Service shows that as much as 14 inches of rain could fall in the Charleston and Georgetown areas between Thursday night and Sunday night as the hurricane passes at sea.
It was just a year ago that as much as 2 feet of rain fell in some areas of South Carolina. Streets in Charleston were flooded so badly that police kept people from coming downtown to the peninsula for several days.
A section of Interstate 95 near Orangeburg was also closed for a time. The Matthew forecast predicts between 5 and 8 inches of rain could fall in that area before the weekend is over.
South Carolina officials say shelters for those worried about Hurricane Matthew are only at about 10 percent capacity in Charleston County.
Spokesman Russell Hulbright says if the shelters in the Charleston area do fill, there are 100 school buses ready to take people from the North Charleston Coliseum to Greenville.
Hulbright said officials hope people can leave in an orderly manner. Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that about 175,000 people have evacuated from the Charleston and Beaufort areas. Haley had hoped as many as 250,000 would flee from the area before Hurricane Matthew approaches.
Hulbright says he thinks interest in evacuating will increase once the winds pick up and rain begins to fall.
A hurricane warning has been extended to Edisto Beach. A hurricane watch is in effect to Georgetown.
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