Evacuations ordered for some SC barrier islands ahead of Irma

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UPDATE – Gov. McMaster has issued a mandatory evacuation for barrier islands in Colleton, Beaufort, and Jasper Counties.

“I’m ordering the mandatory evacuation of the following barrier islands located in these counties: Colleton County, Beaufort County, and Jasper County.”, stated Gov. McMaster at a press conference in Columbia.

This includes Hilton Head Island. The evacuations will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 9.

Gov. McMaster also said, “The southern most coast of South Carolina is expected to experience a storm surge from 4-6 feet above ground level.”

No other evacuations are being ordered in the state.

Gov. McMaster says that road reversals will not happen unless law enforcement in the three affected counties notices traffic problems.

Gov. McMaster says they are not going to issue a statewide school closing. They are leaving that up to local school districts.

“We are making our best judgment based on the best judgment of many professionals throughout these states and based on the history of what prior storms have done.”, claimed Gov. McMaster, as he closed out the press conference.

(AP) – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to decide whether to order residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma.

McMaster said he is awaiting the next update from the National Hurricane Center. He has scheduled another news conference at 6 p.m. Friday.

Federal forecasters have shifted the center of Irma well west of South Carolina. But western parts of the state are still in Monday’s forecast cone as Irma diminishes from a hurricane to a tropical depression.

McMaster says if he orders people to leave their homes, the evacuation would take effect at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The governor also rescinded parts of an order signed Thursday requiring health care facilities in all coastal counties to move patients inland and not take new, non-emergency patients. The order still applied to three counties.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Emergency officials in South Carolina are warning residents to remain alert as Hurricane Irma approaches.

Forecasts early Friday showed the storm likely to head north through Florida and into Georgia and Tennessee. But Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the path is too uncertain for people to relax.

Becker said Friday morning it is important for South Carolinians to review emergency plans and to prepare for high winds and heavy rains.

He noted South Carolina is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew last year and massive flooding in 2015. A decision on evacuations could come Friday afternoon. Those evacuations could start Saturday morning and include some lane reversals on roads leading from the coast.

McMaster said the state is prepared to open 200 shelters if needed.

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