South Carolina preps for Hurricane Ian with evacuations, sandbags, emergency shelters

Gov. Henry McMaster declares state of emergency for South Carolina via executive order

Communities in South Carolina are preparing for the full force of Category 1 Hurricane Ian on Friday as the tropical storm grows into a full-fledged hurricane after ravaging swaths of Florida.

South Carolina officials have opened public shelters and safe houses to the public as the state government finishes its preparations for the incoming storm.

Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency via an executive order on Wednesday.

HURRICANE IAN BRING MORE FLORIDA STORM SURGE, SETS SIGHTS ON CAROLINAS

Since then, individual county governments have been in regular contact with their residents.

A boy looks out at Charleston Harbor as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to roll in to the Charleston, South Carolina, area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. 

A boy looks out at Charleston Harbor as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to roll in to the Charleston, South Carolina, area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.  (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

"As of 9 a.m. this morning, Horry County Government has moved to OPCON 2 and a local state of emergency is in effect. This means Horry County Emergency Management is operating with a heightened state of awareness in anticipation of impacts from Tropical Storm Ian," Horry County Emergency Management wrote.

National Guard troops are being positioned to help with the aftermath, including any water rescues, and highway crews will be ready to clear roads.

LIVE UPDATES: TROPICAL STORM-FORCE WINDS LASH CAROLINAS, GEORGIA AS HURRICANE IAN GETS CLOSER

On Thursday afternoon, a steady stream of vehicles was heading out of Charleston on Interstate 26 with just a few heading into the city.

McMaster issued no evacuation orders, but he said that does not mean the storm is not dangerous.

People walk along The Battery alongside Charleston Harbor as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to roll in to the Charleston, South Carolina, area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. 

People walk along The Battery alongside Charleston Harbor as winds from Hurricane Ian begin to roll in to the Charleston, South Carolina, area on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.  (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

"We know we can handle this if we use our heads and follow the rules," he said.

"There is the potential for major flooding tomorrow," Emergency Management Director of Charleston County Joe Coates said. "If you live on a barrier island or a low-lying area that historically floods, and you haven’t moved to higher ground, I recommend you relocate now."

FOX WEATHER: WHERE IS IAN HEADED NEXT? DANGEROUS STORM'S IMPACTS WILL BE WIDESPREAD 

The Category 1 storm was expected to make landfall there in the afternoon, with hurricane-force winds expected across the coast of South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina.

A home burns after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on Sept. 29, 2022 in Sanibel, Florida. The hurricane brought high winds, storm surge and rain to the area causing severe damage.

A home burns after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on Sept. 29, 2022 in Sanibel, Florida. The hurricane brought high winds, storm surge and rain to the area causing severe damage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There is danger of a life-threatening storm surge from Ian through Friday along the coasts of northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

A storm surge of 4 to 7 feet is expected along the South Carolina coast.

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Even animals living on the state's famous Goat Island were evacuated Thursday morning in anticipation of the storm. 

The goats' owner, Al Hitchcock, told the press that he was moving the animals for fear of rising floodwaters. 

Fox News' Julia Musto contributed to this report.