Hurricane Dorian Evacuees in York County

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) After South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued mandatory evacuations in several coastal, many started moving inland to find safe shelter.  Some found it in York County.

Evacuees include 56 residents of Carolina Gardens Assisted Living in Garden City.  They arrived this week to a sister community in York. Nora Kruse was among them.

“I evacuated the last time, too, so I was kind of more aware,” says Kruse, who is originally from Ohio.  Kruse and other residents were joined by 20 staff members from Garden City.  The Red Cross provided cots to make their stay more comfortable.

“We had mandatory evacuations on zone A on the beach, and we’re zone B, so we of course went ahead and evacuated on Tuesday,” says Matthew Piepenbring, the executive director of Carolina Gardens in Garden City.

Winthrop University is also stepping up to help evacuees.  They opened doors to students from the College of Charleston, including Jeffery Williams.  Williams is studying computer science and classics.  He’s bonding with Winthrop University students over video games.

“Everybody has just been so kind and open. It’s that real Southern hospitality people are known for in South Carolina,” says Williams.  He also said Winthrop University provided evacuated students with meal cards, a separate Wi-Fi log-in and numbers to administrators in case they need help.

Other evacuees are choosing a more traditional option for lodging: hotels.  According to Visit York County, many area hotels are almost 100 percent full.  As of Thursday, Staybridge Suites reported occupancy rates of 96.7 percent.  Hampton Inn in Rock Hill reported 93.2 percent.

But James Watson from Florence, South Carolina, doesn’t need a hotel.  He lives in an RV.

“Studies showed that anything above 50 miles per hour could cause damage to a parked RV,” Watson says that encouraged him to evacuate.

Instead he came to Rock Hill, where the city opened up a free RV lot for evacuees.  It’s equipped with power and a waste station.

“The RV lot was a perfect opportunity for us to extend a welcome to those evacuees who are leaving storm riddled areas,” says Tom Bell, the superintendent of the Rock Hill Outdoor Center.

He says he just wants to show others just how much southern hospitality there is in Rock Hill.