Hurricane Florence as seen from space. Picture courtsey of NASA.
CHARLOTTE, S.C. – As the Southeastern United States prepares for Hurricane Florence the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are urging caution to fleets and drivers that may be in the area.
Tuesday more than 1.5 million people have been issued a mandatory evacuation by S.C. Governor Henry McMaster ahead of the storm which is set to make landfall by this weekend.
The Category 4 storm is expected to come with high winds, rain, and flooding as coastal cities deal with storm surge.
ATA president and CEO Chris Spear is advising commercial drivers to avoid the area and make safe, smart travel decisions in light of the storm.
“There is no trip or delivery that is worth putting yourself or others in harm’s way. ATA advises all companies and individuals to follow emergency management officials’ instructions as the storm tracks toward land.”
To help with the evacuation two U.S. highways have been declared one-way and two more are standing by so those fleeing Florence’s path will be able to leave more easily.
A full four-lane reversal is in effect on Interstate Highway I-26 in Charleston, S.C. from the interchange of I-26 and I-526 and continues to I-77 outside Columbia, S.C.
A second reversal is located on U.S. Highway 501 between the interchanges of S.C. 544 and U.S. 378 and also between S.C. 22 and S.C. 576.
The tourist areas of Beaufort, S.C. and Hilton Head, S.C. are also prepared to reverse U.S. 278 and U.S. 21 if needed.
The FMCSA has issued an emergency declaration for Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia – all of which may be affected by the hurricane.
The declaration exempts those affected by the storm either by evacuation or through helping the relief efforts from hours of service requirements.
Spear has said the trucking industry will step-up to help efforts once the danger has passed.
“As soon as it is safe to do so, trucks from around the country will begin delivering food, water, medicine and other goods essential to rebuilding and restoring communities,” he said.
For more information about evacuation procedures or assisting the relief efforts, the ATA recommend going to Ready.gov, the American Red Cross or the American Logistics Aid Network or www.trucking.org for more information.
For those needing immediate and emergency assistance out of the area please follow the directions of local authorities.