Municipalities and local governments across South Carolina are distributing sandbags ahead of the rain, wind and rising tides expected from Hurricane Ian amid alerts that these quickly assembled barriers might help keep water out of your home.
Sandbags could provide homes and businesses with a small amount of water-flow protection — typically up to 2 feet.
Several municipalities along the coast are providing them, and the sand needed to fill them, free to residents as it is illegal to remove sand from the beach. In most cases, bags will be given but people will have to shovel the sand themselves from nearby piles.
Be warned: a properly filled sandbag could weigh as much as 35 pounds, according to some estimates.
The city of Charleston will have a limited amount of sand and bags available for residents to build sandbags from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 28 at various sites around town.
Residents should take their own shovels but staff will be on-site to assist as needed.
Self-serve pick-up locations in Charleston include: the Bees Landing Recreation Center in West Ashley; the Hampton Park and Grace Bridge Street parking lots on the peninsula; and Seven Farms Drive behind Governor's Park Dog Park on Daniel Island.
Bags will also be available at the James Island Town Hall at the intersection of Camp Road and Dills Bluff Road.
There is a limit of 10 sandbags per residence. The city suggests residents contact local home hardware stores to purchase additional bags.
Elsewhere, here are some of the other spots where you can find sandbag distributions in the state this week:
Officials are not currently distributing or recommending sandbags.
Sandbags are currently available at five locations in Berkeley County: Moncks Corner fire department headquarters (116 Carolina Ave.), Railroad Avenue in Hanahan (in front of field No. 1 behind Trident Technical College), Goose Creek Fire Department headquarters (201 Button Hall Ave.), Cross Rural Fire Department Station 1 (1007 Shortcut Road) and Cross Rural Fire Department Station 3 (1980 Old Highway 6).
Bags are limited to 10 per person.
The county does not distribute sandbags.
Sandbag operations will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28 at Fire-Rescue Headquarters, 113 Mable T. Willis Blvd. Residents will be responsible for filling and loading their sandbags. Sandbags will be available again Sept. 29 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sandbags will not be available on Sept. 30.
The city does not distribute sandbags to residents.
Sandbag locations will be open Sept. 29 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per resident or business owner. People are asked to bring a shovel as individuals will have to fill bags themselves; the county will provide sand and bags. Locations are as follows:
- Ridgeville Town Hall, 105 School St., Ridgeville
- Harleyville Town Hall, 122 W Main St., Harleyville
- County Court House, 5200 E Jim Bilton Blvd. St., George
- Gahagan Park, 184 W. Boundary St., Summerville
- Old Bi-Lo parking lot, 1452 Boone Hill Road, Summerville
- Wescott Park, 9006 Dorchester Road, North Charleston
- Oakbrook Middle School, 286 Old Fort Dr., Ladson
Up to 10 bags of sand per resident can be shoveled beginning 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the fire station (106 W. Cooper Ave.). A load of sand will be delivered the same day to the boat landing on Folly Beach. People can start filling bags there at 1 p.m. Sept. 28. The distribution will last until the sand is gone.
The city of Georgetown will provide self-serve sandbags on Sept. 29 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the old City Hall site at 120 N. Fraser St. The limit is 10 bags per individual.
Georgetown County Emergency Services Director Brandon Ellis said the county is not planning to hold sandbag operations, based on the current forecast.
The county typically does not provide sandbags for storms and will not distribute them for Ian.
Isle of Palms
A Tweet from the Isle of Palms police department said sand and bags will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis for residents beginning at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 at the municipal parking lot on Pavilion Drive.
The town is not planning to distribute sandbags at this time.
The town will provide sand and bags for residents beginning 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at three locations: Memorial Waterfront Park, R.L. Jones Recreational Complex and Park West Recreational Complex. Each household will be limited to 10 bags. Residents should bring their own shovels. The distribution will last until all sandbags are gone.
City staff will provide up to six filled sandbags for residents from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 28 until supplies are exhausted. The bags can be picked up at the following locations: Gussie Greene Community Center, North Charleston Athletic Center and the North Charleston Aquatics.
The bags are not available for businesses. Proof of North Charleston residency must be provided.
The county does not provide sandbags to residents.
Residents can pick up bags at the fire station on Hennessy Street and fill them at the piles on Quarter Street.
More distribution sites are likely to open in the Lowcountry in the next day or so.
The S.C. Emergency Management Division said people in potentially vulnerable areas should review their plans and consider the actions they will need to take if Ian threatens the state. This especially includes those who are in low-lying areas, like the coast.
"While we are not expecting the full force of a hurricane-strength storm, everyone in South Carolina, from the Upstate to the Midlands, the Pee Dee to the Lowcountry should be prepared to take personal safety precautions if advised to do so by your local emergency managers," EMD Director Kim Stenson said in a news release.
The agency provides an interactive hurricane guide online at hurricane.sc. People can also download the agency's mobile app Know Your Zone to build a personal emergency plan, find emergency shelter locations and stay connected with loved ones. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play.