South Carolina governor Henry McMaster is facing criticism after ordering Labor Day evacuations for a hurricane that is still days away from approaching the Palmetto State’s coastline.
News of South Carolina’s Hurricane Dorian evacuation plans – first reported by this news outlet on Sunday morning – enraged coastal residents.
“Another premature call,” Amanda Williams of Charleston, S.C. wrote on her Facebook page. “Schools closed, local businesses affected, supplies can’t get in due to lane reversal.”
Williams contrasted McMaster’s handling of hurricane plans with that of former governor Nikki Haley.
“Nikki Haley would never have called it this early because she understood the economic impact,” Williams added.
Actually, Haley faced similar criticisms in 2016 during the run-up to Hurricane Matthew … but not from us.
We actually credited Haley for her decision-making, even if we believed she jumped the gun on coastal evacuations.
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(Via: S.C. Governor)
As for McMaster? We think his evacuations were clearly premature …
Local tourism officials are reportedly livid with the governor (above) – especially after he flip-flopped on the question Sunday afternoon. At a mid-afternoon press conference, McMaster told reporters it was “too early” to discuss evacuations – but less than four hours later he was ordering them.
Not only that, McMaster’s orders came down on one of the busiest tourism days of the year.
“Total shit show,” one Lowcountry resident told us, adding that McMaster’s Labor Day evacuation order “made the hotels lose millions.”
This is not the first time McMaster has been criticized for premature evacuations, although we extended the benefit of doubt to his administration during the run-up to Hurricane Florence last fall.
In fairness to the guffawing governor this go-round, the latest evacuations were ordered as Hurricane Dorian was approaching peak intensity – a category five monster with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. The storm was also moving slowly but surely toward the coast of Florida when McMaster pulled the trigger.
Over the last forty-eight hours, though, Dorian has stalled – and lost much of its strength.
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The problem? This general motion had been forecast since Saturday, meaning McMaster and his advisors probably should have known they were getting ahead of themselves.
Does this mean we are joining those who are second-guessing the governor? No. Once again, these systems are wildly unpredictable – and we believe it is far better to err on the side of caution in dealing with them.
Still, aside from the obvious economic impact of a premature evacuation there are residual issues to consider as well. Specifically, McMaster is running the risk of becoming “the governor who cried ‘Evacuate!'”
“If this (storm) misses us like it’s predicted to do, I don’t think anyone here will listen to evacuation orders from McMaster again,” one resident of Hilton Head Island told us.
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …
Did governor Henry McMaster perform a "premature evacuation" of the South Carolina coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian?
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