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White House offers assistance as South Carolina braces for Hurricane Ian

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U.S. President Joe Biden approved disaster declarations in South Carolina and Virginia as Hurricane Ian neared the East Coast with renewed strength. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/9f0fe7dbadcc2f07a8d05705845eeac5/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
U.S. President Joe Biden approved disaster declarations in South Carolina and Virginia as Hurricane Ian neared the East Coast with renewed strength. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- South Carolina and the east coast are bracing for Hurricane Ian, as the storm prepares to make a second U.S. landfall, after already devastating much of Florida.

Ian made landfall in South Carolina at 2 p.m. on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to make landfall in South Carolina on Friday afternoon and could bring flooding and wind damage to the state. It is then expected to track northwards.

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President Joe Biden approved disaster declarations for South Carolina and Virginia, which opens up federal funding and authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

"By approving it early, ahead of the storm's landfall in South Carolina, we can get supplies and provide shelter if necessary," Biden said. "My message to the people of South Carolina is simple, please listen to all the warnings and directions from local officials and follow their directions."

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster spoke with President Joe Biden on Friday to discuss the storm's expected impact on South Carolina.

"The President told the Governor that the Administration is here to provide whatever assistance the people of South Carolina need, and asked the Governor to stay in touch," a White House readout said.

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While many Floridians made plans to leave ahead of Ian's arrival, South Carolina residents have been taking a different approach. The Post and Courier reported that there have been no evacuation orders, although many people are stocking up on bottled water, lanterns and paper towels.

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Crews in downtown Charleston have created dams that can hold 2.5 feet of water, and residents have taken to creating their own dams out of sandbags. It is expected that Ian could bring some of the worst flooding seen in the state since Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Mayor John Tecklenburg urged city residents to consider staying elsewhere if their homes flooded during those two storms.

"We're going to have some water in the city tomorrow, folks," Tecklenburg said, according to the Post and Courier.

Norman Levine, the director of the Lowcountry Hazards Center at the College of Charleston, said that Ian's impact is likely worsened by global warming.

"Ian's large footprint is one of those climate change signals - storms that are getting bigger because warmer air holds more water," he told the Post and Courier.

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