Staff at Charleston VA Ordered to Shelter in Place as Hurricane Dorian Approaches

Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. (Image: Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina. (Image: Dept. of Veterans Affairs)

A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Charleston has issued a shelter-in-place order, and VA clinics in coastal areas are closing down for the week as Hurricane Dorian bears down on the Carolinas.

The shelter-in-place order for staff at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is set to begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Inpatient care units and the hospital's Emergency Department remain open, but all elective outpatient procedures have been canceled through Friday, according to the medical center's website.

In addition, six clinics in the VA's Veterans Integrated Service Network 7 for the Southeast are closed through Saturday.

Related: Air Force Evacuates Dozens of Aircraft as Hurricane Dorian Nears

Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph as of 5 a.m. Wednesday, is moving north off the Florida coast at about 8 mph and is expected to threaten the Carolinas late Wednesday, possibly making landfall, according to the National Weather Service.

The Carolinas face a threat of "destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges," according to the National Hurricane Center.

"This is a dangerous situation," staff with the National Weather Service office in Charleston said Wednesday in an online post.

"The combination of significant storm surge inundation and heavy rainfall will enhance the risk for flash flooding, especially along the coast, including Downtown Charleston, portions of the Savannah [Georgia] Metro Area, and the nearby coastal communities," the post added.

South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control said that four hospitals had closed or were in the process of closing until the storm passes -- Hilton Head Hospital, Encompass Health Rehab Hospital of Bluffton, Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health and Vibra Hospital of Charleston.

On Monday, the Marine Corps ordered the evacuation of Marine Corps Base Parris Island on the South Carolina coast near the Georgia line and the nearby Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina as Dorian approached.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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