Leland Nolan and his family moved to the Charleston, South Carolina area from Tyrone, Blair County about four years ago. He said they have seen some bad weather there, but they did not want to stick around for Hurricane Matthew.
“We’ve had tropical storm warnings before, but talking to the residents down there that have been there for awhile, they said nothing to worry about,” Nolan said. “Whenever they start saying ‘Yeah… this one’s a little scary…’ you might want to leave.”
His main concern is flooding and power outages, especially since he and his family live so close to the coast line.
“We had a really bad rainstorm just last year that actually shut down the entire city for 4 days, he said. “So already talking about up to 10 inches of rain possibility, plus the high winds, storm surge, things like that, they were like, ‘Okay, this seems a little bit more worrisome than last year.'”
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) began a medical evacuation Tuesday and then urged residents to leave.
“This is a scary storm,” she said. “This is a storm that should be taken seriously. We really need you to evacuate. I don’t want to have to deal with anyone losing their life or anything happening.”
At around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Nolans hit the road in a packed vehicle, a few dogs, a bunny rabbit and hamster included.
“What happened the next day, 3 p.m., they shut down everything,” Nolan said. “So you couldn’t go eastbound to the coast. So what they did is they turned I-26 into a lane reversal. So they had 8 lanes going the whole way out I-26 towards like Columbia.”
Hotels in Columbia were booked, so the Nolans continued on, driving around 11 hours, to stay with family in Tyrone.
“I’m not taking any chances so we got out of dodge, pretty much,” he said.
Nolan said he and his family plan to stay in Tyrone until the coast is clear, so to speak. That means the will wait until flooding is down and power is back on if they have to.