Red Cross shelters

Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the Palmetto South Carolina Region of the American Red Cross, speaks at a press briefing Saturday mid-morning regarding response to Hurricane Irma at Charleston County's Emergency Management Department. Provided/American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region

The American Red Cross has opened three shelters in South Carolina in light of Hurricane Irma, and plans to open a fourth at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Shelters were opened in public schools in Columbia, Walterboro and Ridgeland on Saturday morning at the following locations:

  • Dent Middle School, 2721 Decker Blvd., Columbia
  • Colleton Middle School, 1379 Tuskegee Airmen Dr., Walterboro
  • Ridgeland High School, 250 Jaguar Trail, Ridgeland

The three schools opened during the morning and early afternoon to anyone needing shelter from Irma. The Red Cross will open a fourth location at Crestwood High School at 2000 Oswego Rd. in Sumter at 5 p.m.

A press release from the Red Cross stated those who are planning to stay at the shelters should bring sleeping bags and pillows. The organization won't ask for any identification, but they will want to know people's names and addresses for tracking purposes, according to the press release.

Information from the Red Cross also stated more shelters would be opened "should the need arise."

The Red Cross continues to monitor the storm’s path and has not deactivated any shelters despite Irma's shift further westward Saturday afternoon out of an abundance of caution, said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the aid organization’s Palmetto South Carolina Region.

“We are working with our government partners,” Williams said. “We still have shelters on standby for whatever’s needed.”

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.