The US Coast Guard (USCG) has set port condition Yankee for South Carolina in order to handle the constant tropical storm force winds generated by Hurricane Michael.

Port condition Yankee refers to the condition when tropical storm force winds are expected within 24 hours and the closing of the affected ports to all inbound vessels greater than 500t.

Movement of commercial vessel within the port has also been restricted unless authorised by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) in South Carolina.

Hurricane Michael had already made a landfall on 10 October as a category three storm and flooded beach towns in north-west Florida, US.

USCG in a statement said: “Pleasure crafts are advised to seek safe harbor.

“Drawbridges do not operate when sustained winds reach 25mph or when an evacuation is in progress.

“Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.”

“Port facilities are advised to review their heavy weather plans and take all necessary precautions to adequately prepare for the expected conditions.”

USCG also issued a number of safety warnings to the public, including staying off the water, staying clear of beaches and informed, among others.

In a separate development, the COTP for North Carolina has set port condition Yankee for the Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City due to Hurricane Michael.

The COTP for Hampton Roads has also set port condition X-ray for the Port of Virginia.

Port condition X-ray means the anticipated arrival of tropical storm force winds within 48 hours. The ports and facilities under this condition remain open to all commercial traffic.

It also requires all ocean-going commercial vessels and barges more than 500t capacity to prepare for departing ports in the Hampton Roads COTP zone.