East Tennesseans worry about family in South Carolina as Hurricane Matthew approaches


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Adam Gafford has been talking to his mother all day. He’s making sure she has a plan as Hurricane Matthew inches towards her in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

“It could be bad, it could be not bad. You have to be prepared.”

Previous story: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley plans evacuation ahead of Hurricane Matthew

People in South Carolina are trying to prepare themselves even though the storm is 72 hours away. Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday issued an evacuation plan early, so one million people can safely leave the coast.

“I think the Governor was very wise to issue the state of emergency several days in advance to give us the opportunity to get out,” said Adam Gafford’s mother, Jo Gafford.

Adam Gafford’s parents are headed to East Tennessee if the storm stays on course to their state.

“I can understand why they’re doing it,” said Adam Gafford.

They don’t want to relive hurricane Hugo from 1989.

“It brings a lot of memories.”

Adam Gafford was 13 when Hugo hit.

“It was that traumatic of an experience for me. Some people lost everything, boats piled up, cars piled up, buildings knocked down, people homeless, everything smelled like pine,” he said.

It’s a memory Adam Gafford doesn’t wish on anyone which is why he’s hoping Matthew doesn’t rival Hugo but if it does he’s glad plans are in motion.

“You’ve got to be prepared,” he said.

Unless there is a major shift in the storm’s track Gov. Haley says she expects evacuations to begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday. South Carolina state officials say lanes on major evacuation routes will be reversed. It would be the first major evacuation since hurricane Floyd in 1999.

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