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Mayor: 'We're asking everyone to please, leave town'

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Weather forecasters say flooding in the Charleston area, especially in the areas of lower elevation, will flood quickly due to the combination of storm surge, rain and high tide.

For that reason, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg took an uncommon inhospitable approach, going against the grain of southern hospitality for which Charleston is known.

“We’re asking everyone to please, leave town,” Mayor Tecklenburg said. “It’s that time.”

INTERACTIVE: Track the path of Hurricane Matthew

Storm surge in some areas could be as high as eight feet. Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen described what could be seen as “very serious.” He said his agency is currently working with the county and state to make sure everything is in place to perform water rescues if necessary.

First responders and emergency crews aren’t going anywhere. They will weather the storm with others who stay behind, but there was a clear message – as the storm becomes intense, typical 911 response times will not be realistic.

For that reason, again, city leaders stressed the importance of evacuating.

“Please do not wait to act to protect you and your family,” said City of Charleston Emergency Management Director Mark Wilbert.

There have been many questions coming into our newsroom about the status of the bridges. Chief Mullen said as wind speeds increase, advisories will be issued. Once wind speeds reach 45 mph, there will be limited representation of law enforcement on area bridges.

For more updates on Hurricane Matthew, CLICK HERE.

The message from leaders in Charleston County, Berkeley County and Dorchester County leaders was similar. The overall theme, GET OUT.

For those who still need help evacuating, you can find information on shuttles and shelters here.

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