SC considers evacuations for SC coast ahead of Hurricane Irma

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Gov. Henry McMaster says he is considering evacuation orders for parts of South Carolina as Hurricane Irma threatens.

McMaster said he will decide Friday whether to ask people to leave the coast. If he does order an evacuation, lanes on Interstate 26 and other evacuation routes would be reversed starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The National Weather Service says its forecast is not set in stone, but much of South Carolina could experience rain and wind from Irma on Monday. The storm surge could go over barrier islands near where the eye of the storm comes ashore.

McMaster thinks it is possible to see hurricane wind speeds in the Upstate.

If there is an evacuation, he urges people to follow the signs instead of the GPS on their phone.

If an evacuation is ordered, there will be a reversal of lanes on I-26 and around Myrtle Beach at some point.

They will announce Friday whether they will be closings schools on Monday and Tuesday.

McMaster also signed two executive orders Thursday. One orders nursing homes and hospitals in seven counties on or near the coast to evacuate.

The other requires dam owners to evaluate whether their lake levels can be safely lowered.

WSPA contributed to this report.