County downgrades its hurricane alert

Irene likely headed north, but officials have not let down guard

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Recent forecasts show Hurricane Irene skimming North Carolina's Outer Banks and making landfall somewhere in New England, but Charleston County officials haven't let down their guard just yet. At 3 p.m. today, the county downgraded from Operating Condition (OPCON) 3 to OPCON 4.

When the county moved to OPCON 3 yesterday afternoon, county employees went on standby in case they were called to the Emergency Operations Center, which is in the Public Services Building off of Leeds Avenue. OPCON 4 means "there is a possibility of an emergency or disaster situation that may require a partial or full activation" of the Emergency Operations Center.

Cathy Haynes, the Charleston County Emergency Management Department’s chief of operations, said in a press release that the county is still keeping an eye on Irene.

"This is a powerful hurricane, and its track is still uncertain," Haynes said. "While things seem to have improved for Charleston County, we still have staff on standby and we are ready to take the steps necessary to keep Charleston County safe.”

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