Governor orders evacuations of SC barrier islands as Irma approaches

Posted September 10, 2017

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.

Quagliariello said the hurricane's change in direction is good news for the state, but impacts are still expected from Hurricane Irma, and any shifts will change the impacted areas.

Traffic along Interstate 95 and 26 is moving without significant congestion, McMaster said in his briefing.

McMaster urged drivers to follow evacuation signs posted along the highways, "no matter what they say on Google maps". But evacuees from Florida and Georgia will also be able to stay at shelters in SC if needed.

No other evacuations are being ordered in the state. "The hurricane seems to be going away from us, but that doesn't mean it's going to keep going away, so we have to be vigilant".

Branded gas stations are not experiencing shortages, and McMaster said drivers should not feel the need to repeatedly top up their tanks or take additional reserves.

The Columbia area is unlikely to experience hurricane-force winds but could see tornadoes Monday, forecasters said around midday Saturday.

Earlier Friday, McMaster rescinded a portion of an executive order issued Thursday calling on health care facilities and nursing homes to evacuate from coastal counties.

McMaster also issued an order requiring owners of 2,370 public and private dams to lower their lake water levels.

He praised the work done by state officials and first reponders so far.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has opened a hotline for state residents who have questions about Hurricane Irma.

That order is aimed at preventing a repeat of October 2015, when bursting and overflowing dams amid historic 24-inch rains worsened deadly flooding.

In its current track, the eye of Irma is set to make landfall over the southern portion of Florida on Sunday night and make its way north, nearing south Georgia by Monday.

Hurricane Irma has already caused devastation in the Caribbean, and seems headed for Florida, where evacuations are already under way.

Three shelters have opened: Colleton Middle School in Colleton County, Ridgeland High School in Jasper County, and Dent Middle School in Richland County.