With Hurricane Florence Bearing Down, S.C. Governor Closes Schools in 26 Counties

By Denisa R. Superville — September 10, 2018 2 min read
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With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Southeast and governors in three states already declaring states of emergency, school districts in the region are making plans to close.

But those announcements on closures may not be coming fast enough for some parents whose children attend the Wake County school system in North Carolina, who wanted to know on Monday when the district was going to make a decision about closure, according to the Charlotte News and Observer. (Wake County, North Carolina’s largest school district, announced Tuesday that it will have early dismissal on Thursday and close on Friday.)

On Monday afternoon, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered schools closed in 26 counties on Tuesday. The state department of education will also close. About one million people are expected to evacuate coastal areas in the state.

As of Monday, states of emergency had been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, and evacuations orders had been issued along North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall along the Carolina coast on Thursday if it keeps its current trajectory, but the area could start feeling tropical storm force winds as early as Wednesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane, which is already a Category 4 storm, could produce storm surges along the coastlines, flooding from heavy rains, and damaging winds, from North Carolina to Virginia, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The New Hanover School District in Wilmington, N.C., announced Monday that the district will be closed Tuesday through Friday. Some staff and custodians will help with hurricane preparation on Tuesday, but the district will be closed to all other students and staff for the rest of the week. All athletic activities have also been canceled.

Schools in Dare County, N.C., where a mandatory evacuation order was issued on Monday, are also closed through the end of the week.

The Charleston County school district in South Carolina will also be closed on Tuesday. The Greenville school district in South Carolina has canceled field trips to the coast, but has not made any decision about closing.

Last year, school districts in Florida and Texas were disrupted and faced significant damages from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey at the start of the school year.

Districts like Houston were shuttered for two weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s winds and rains caused multi-million damages to the district’s schools and infrastructure.

Photo caption: A photograph provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Sept. 10, as it threatens the U.S. East Coast.

--NASA via AP

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.