Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, residents on those islands should prepare to evacuate their homes beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 9 at 10 a.m.
Residents of barrier islands in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties must leave their homes by 10 a.m. Saturday, two days before the now-Category 4 storm begins affecting South Carolina, McMaster said.
Lane reversals are not planned at this time but that could change as evacuations take place, McMaster said.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Emergency officials in SC are warning residents to remain alert as Hurricane Irma approaches.
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"We're not declaring this disaster over". But the massive hurricane is still forecast to slam into Florida Saturday night or early Sunday morning as a powerful storm before moving north and west through Georgia and taking a turn toward Tennessee as a tropical depression. That track, and the entire cone of uncertainty with it, has shifted entirely outside the state in recent National Hurricane Center updates.
McMaster did not give a clear timeframe for when evacuation orders might be lifted, and pledged thorough inspections of state infrastructure following Irma to ensure the safety of citizens.
McMaster said the state is prepared to open 200 shelters if needed.
McMaster took the opportunity to remind residents that even when the storm has passed, the challenges it brings will not be over. He said this could result in flash flooding, especially in the mountainous terrain and the Upstate.
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Hurricane Irma has already caused devastation in the Caribbean, and seems headed for Florida, where evacuations are already under way. He also spoke on the progress of evacuation efforts in SC.
Bluffton High School and Battery Creek High School can be used as shelters.
The University of South Carolina, Allen and Benedict universities, Columbia College, and the Richland 1, 2, Lexington 1, 2 and Lexington-Richland 5 school districts will be closed Monday. The order still applied to three counties. Shelters scheduled to be operating beginning tomorrow include the Colleton Middle School in Colleton County, Ridgeland High Junior and Elementary School in Jasper County.
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