Hurricane Ian updates for Sumter, Clarendon and Lee Counties: Sept. 30, 2022


Editor's note: This article and all of The Sumter Item's hurricane  coverage is free as a public service. We believe having access to reliable, accurate and up-to-date local information before, during and after inclement weather is critical to the vitality and safety of the communities we serve and that money should not be a barrier to that access. We do, however, rely on paying subscribers to support our independently, family owned business. If you value the local news you're reading and are not a subscriber, please consider becoming one today at

As Hurricane Ian leaves Florida, it approaches the South Carolina coast as a Category 1 hurricane. 

8:55 a.m.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division reported that Ian could land in the state as a Category 1 hurricane.

At around 5 a.m., Hurricane Ian was located about 240 miles southeast of Columbia moving at 9 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia. It is expected to approach the coast this morning and move into the state this afternoon.

As a Category 1, Ian could have wind speeds between 74-95 mph and could cause damage to frames of well-constructed homes, powerlines and poles resulting in power outages and break tree limbs or uproot shallowly rooted trees, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

With a storm intensity of 85 mph, the tri-county area is still under a tropical storm warning and flood watch through Saturday morning. Strong winds between 25 to 35 mph and widespread heavy rainfall of 2 to 4 inches are expected to move into the area and continue throughout Friday night.

9:15 a.m.

FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available for South Carolina to help with state, tribal and local efforts concerning emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Ian.

FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources to lessen the impacts of emergencies. President Joe Biden authorized FEMA to coordinate public health and safety resources, protect property, save lives, provide appropriate assistance and lessen or avert the threat of catastrophe for all 46 South Carolina counties.

11:05 a.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster will hold a media breifiing with state emergency management officials at 12:30 p.m. to update the public on Hurricane Ian's impact. 

11:09 a.m.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office advises residents of travel advisory cautions due to weather conditions. 

Emergency personnel are already responding to calls for downed trees, downed powerlines and inoperable traffic lights, according to Maj. Randall Stewart. Road conditons and high winds will continue to deteroriate through tomorrow.  The sheriff's office will coordinate with Emergency Management Division to alert residents of any flooding  conditions and road closures. 

Sheriff Anthony Dennis ask residents to avoid unneccessary traveling on roadways through early tomorrow morning. 

11:30 a.m.

As Ian makes its way closer to the Midlands, Sumter County Emergency Management Director Donna Dew said the local agency is preparing for damaging winds and heavy rain.

“We’re still in tropical storm-force winds,” she said, “anywhere from 50-60 (mph) with 4 to 6 inches of rain. Some areas may get a little bit more than that in rain, but they haven’t gotten it broken down by area.”

Dew said, thankfully, Sumter County hasn’t had that many storms to pinpoint and compare high damage and low damage areas, but she said it depends on the rain bands and what area they cross.

“Every storm is different,” she said. “It depends on how it comes in from the coast. All of that plays in a factor.”

The Sumter County Emergency Management is continuously listening for Ian updates through the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and National Weather Service.

1:15 p.m.

As of 1:15 p.m., Hurricane Ian is off the coast of South Carolina, and 130 miles southeast of Sumter traveling at about 14 mph. It is expected to make landfall sometime this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. 

Heavy rainfall is expected throughout the day with flash flood warning possible this afternoon evening. Wind peaks are currently  between 25 to 35 mph and can intensify  to between 58 to 73 mph,  NWS said. 

A tropical storm warning and flood watch  is still in effect for the tri-county area until 8 a.m. Saturday.  

Mostly sunny skies are expected Saturday, with a high of 75 degrees and wind speeds between 7 to 13 mph.  That night, winds are expected to slow between 5 to 7 mph and skies will be partly cloudy. Low  temperatures expected to be around 58 degrees. 

1:40 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster held a briefing on Hurricane Ian at 12:30 p.m., where National Weather Service COO John Murphy said Hurricane Ian’s landfall in the state is imminent.

It was last updated as a Category 1 storm, and the National Weather Service will have an update in an hour on its conditions. Its impact has already affected South Carolina’s coast, he said. A tornado watch is in effect in the northeast of the state.

According to Murphy, the hurricane will be making landfall along the coast. He said the Midlands won’t be hit directly, but it will be affected by the tropical storm-force winds.

“It looks very localized in that one part of the state,” Murphy said about the storm’s threat.

The National Weather Service forecasted conditions should improve through the night Friday.

“The center of Hurricane Ian is posting the coast of South Carolina, just above Charleston,” McMaster said. “This is not as bad as it could have been. A lot of prayers have been answered, but I would ask people don’t quit yet because it’s still coming. We’re not out of the woods.”

The governor reported water on several state roads and said it’s still “very dangerous.” McMaster encouraged residents to stay indoors.

So far, no deaths have been reported in the state, but “there is still life-threatening conditions,” he stressed.

“Don’t forget that human error is the deadliest thing we have,” McMaster said, “so be careful, and be smart.”

South Carolina has 90 guardsmen on active duty, according to the South Carolina Military Department.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson said the agency is operating at the highest level of response and will remain at that level until the storm curtails.

Ian has brought several power outages across the state. Nanette Edwards, executive director of the Office of Regulatory Staff, said there are more than 69,000 power outages across the state so far. She anticipates those numbers will climb throughout the day.

South Carolina Department of Public Safety is active, responding to calls for service; an uptick in calls for service was reported across the state, Director Robert Woods IV said. There have been reports of fallen trees and road emergencies. They remain active on the roadways and request residents stay off roadways until the storm passes.

Woods reported the storm is mostly impacting the coastal region of the state at this time.

McMaster said he has worked closely with President Joe Biden and the Biden Administration on South Carolina’s safety.

“When there’s a hurricane, there’s no politics involved there,” he said. “Everyone agrees we want to keep people safe and protect people.”

McMaster said another press conference will be held, but he did not give the time.

2:18 p.m.

Hurricane Ian made landfall at 2:05 p.m. south of Georgetown as a Category 1 Hurricane, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Divsion. 

5:00 p.m. 

As of 4:44 p.m., Ian becomes a post-tropical cyclone but remains steady with dangerous storm surges, flash flooding and high winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

A flood advisory is in effect for Sumter until 7:30 p.m. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division urges residents to not drive or walk through flooded areas. 

11:25 p.m.

As of 11 p.m., all weather watches and warnings have been cancelled by the National Weather Service. Ian has moved 110 miles northeast of Sumter, NWS said. 

Little to no additional impacts are anticipated at this time across the Midlands. There is a 50% chance of showers throughout Friday night and mostly cloudy skies.  

Saturday's forecast is expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 75 degrees. 

Shelbie Goulding and Alaysha Maple contributed to this article.