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Businesses, gas stations across Lowcountry prep for Hurricane Matthew

Transportation
Ashley Heffernan
  • Ashley Heffernan
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Some business owners in the Charleston area have boarded up their windows and are planning to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Matthew.

Barney Limehouse, whose father owns the Limehouse RPM Gun Shop on Maybank Highway on Johns Island, said the family boarded up the shop’s windows and doors on Tuesday night. He expects they will board up the Limehouse Paint and Body shop next door today and then evacuate to the Upstate or out of South Carolina.

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“If it’s a Cat 2 or more, we’re going to have a lot of damage,” he said.

Many members of the Limehouse family remained in Charleston when Hurricane Hugo hit the Lowcountry in September 1989. Limehouse said he would not stick around for another strong hurricane again, adding that the aftermath with no electricity and the potential for looters is what worries him most.

“Don’t stay. Don’t be stupid. Pack up and leave,” he said.

The Builders First Source store at 3155 Maybank Highway on Johns Island closed at noon today and doesn’t expect to reopen until Monday.

Johnny Glidden, an employee at the store, said about 20 people purchased plywood to board up their homes and businesses before the store closed today. He said the store sold more plywood, which can cost between $10 and $30 depending on the type and size, today than the rest of this week combined.

Fueling up

Gas stations in the region were also busy boarding up and requesting more fuel.

The Sunoco gas station at 2019 Maybank Highway on James Island ran out of gas Tuesday night and expects to have more delivered today or Thursday, manager Wanda Deadner said. She said the amount of people who purchased gas from the station on Tuesday was “truly phenomenal.”

The Exxon gas station on the corner of Savannah Highway and Wesley Drive in West Ashley was out of gas Wednesday morning. (Photo/Ashley Heffernan)The Exxon at the corner of Savannah Highway and Wesley Drive in West Ashley was also out of gas Wednesday morning but still had some diesel fuel for sale, assistant manager Emma Kennerty said. The station ran out of gas around 7:30 a.m. today, and the company’s corporate office hasn’t told the station yet when more fuel will arrive.

The BP and Speedway gas stations across from each other at the corner of Maybank Highway and River Road on Johns Island both ran out of gas. The BP, which is also a Circle K store, began boarding up the windows early today, according to lead assistant manager Tamara Goodwin. She didn’t know when another fuel shipment would arrive.

The Speedway had only premium gas for sale until nearly noon today, when that ran out as well. Manager Tim Smith said he expects fuel deliveries to arrive daily through at least Friday. He said the station would not board the windows since they are shatter-proof glass. 

In Summerville, gasoline and diesel fuel are intermittently available, but propane is difficult to find in any part of the city. Lowe’s workers on Dorchester Road were stopping people who were bringing in replacement canisters before they reached the store.

The gas stations that have fuel also have lines. Gas station attendants at Murphy Express on Dorchester Road in Summerville directed a constant flow of cars Wednesday morning, asking drivers whether they needed gas or diesel. One attendant said she directed traffic until about midnight Tuesday and was back at it today.

The Sunoco on Bacons Bridge Road ran out of gasoline and diesel around 6 p.m. Tuesday. The station expects a gas delivery by noon Wednesday. The Exxon station across the street had gasoline and a line of people stretched to the road.

Many gas stations expect to get fuel deliveries before Hurricane Matthew arrives later in the week.

Editor Andy Owens contributed to this report.

Reach Ashley Heffernan at 843-849-3144.

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