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MARION, S.C. – Marion County was placed on a tropical storm warning Tuesday as local officials monitored Hurricane Dorian.

The area is expecting wind and rain as the hurricane passes along the Atlantic Coast this week.

Marion County Administrator Tim Harper said staff have been preparing for the storm since last week.

“We’ve been on conference calls daily, planning and coordinating,” Harper said. “We’re looking at making decisions in reference to closures. No offices are closed as of yet.”

The Emergency Operations Center has been operational for several days, he said. It will be fully operational Wednesday morning as officials make decisions on how to proceed the rest of the week.

Marion County School District announced it will have an early dismissal today.

Primary and elementary schools will dismiss at noon; middle and high schools will release at 1 p.m. Extracurricular activities at all schools also are canceled for the day.

Officials said they will continue to get feedback from the Marion County Emergency Management Team and monitoring the weather sources.

“Please know these decisions are not taken lightly,” according to MCSD statement. “Student and staff safety is always a top concern.”

Up to 24 inches of rain fell in Marion this time last year as a result of Hurricane Florence. Marion County is forecast to receive 4 to 6 inches of rain. Peak gusts are forecast to be 53 mph.

City of officials in Marion are doing their part to help the public by providing sand and sandbags to residents and business owners.

The sand and bags are located near the city's Maintenance Shop on Bobby Gerald Parkway and available while supplies last. Residents will need to bring their own sandbags. Those who want to volunteer filling bags for others are encouraged to stop by. Officials thanked Danny Barnhill of Blanton's Supplies for donating six tons of sand for storm preparations.

Marion also is suspending curbside pickup of yard debris and large household items until after Hurricane Dorian passes. Residents are encouraged to not place any yard debris, tree limbs or household items beside the road due to anticipated high winds and heavy rains sending waste into catch basins and blocking the storm drain system.

For information on nonemergency matters, contact the Marion County Emergency Operations Center at 843-275-6087 or 843-275-6088

For evacuation routes, traffic and road conditions, call SCDOT: 888-877-9151.

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Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.

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