Closures abound as Hurricane Irene nears (updated x2: more closures)

Image by SCE&G A downed power line on Folly Road. As 9:20 a.m. 2,300 customers were without power on Folly Beach.

Update, 12:15 p.m.: More school closings have been announced and Live 5 News has the list.

In addition, the College of Charleston has cancelled classes beginning at 2 p.m, The Citadel's classes are cancelled beginning at 1 p.m., and Charleston Southern is closing at 12:30 p.m.

Mid-morning update: The conditions are picking up with more wind gusts and reports that the bridge to Folly Beach has been closed — be sure you're tuned into the #CHSWX hashtag on Twitter for the very latest.

First reporting, morning: The threat of high winds, heavy rain and downtown flooding due to Hurricane Irene's passing has prompted the closure of Charleston Count Schools and local government this Friday.

The call was made last night at 9:30 p.m., which gave parents little time to figure out what to do with their children. However, it's clearly better to be safe than sorry, and keeping busses, parents and kids off the roads this afternoon is a good call.

Bishop England High, Charleston Catholic, First Baptist High, Mason Preparatory and Porter-Gaud have decided to cancel classes today as well. The Post and Courier has a drawn out report on the situation which you can read here.

As for Irene's path and her effects on the Lowcountry today, here's what you need to know:

  • Irene has now been downgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds near 110 mph. 
  • A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Lowcountry today. 
  • Wind gusts may exceed 50 mph along the coast. The combination of very high surf and high astronomical tides will enhance the risk for shallow coastal flooding. 
  • Four inches of rain is expected to fall in certain places, so beware of driving around high tide which is at 6:30 p.m. this evening.

You can check out the models at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's site, it provides plenty of information on the storm and is updated every few hours.

In the interim for many and more local reports tune into the #CHSWX hashtag on Twitter.

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