Hurricane Irma shifts track, delaying SC evacuation plans

Saul Bowman
September 10, 2017

Coastal residents should plan on evacuating and be prepared for an order for 10 am Saturday, McMaster.

Governor Henry McMaster on Friday ordered the evacuation of certain barrier islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties.

With threat to SC waning, McMaster announced an agreement with Florida Gov. Rick Scott to send first responders to the Sunshine State, which sits firmly in the powerful storm's crosshairs.

As Irma approaches the region, its large swells, storm surge and high tides may cause water along the coast to rise 6 feet above ground level near Charleston, which Dixon said could have a "pretty devastating result".

"We're not declaring this disaster over".

Lane reversals on I-26 will only happen, he said, if evacuations are ordered.

S.C. leaders appeared to breathe a collective sigh of relief Saturday, as Hurricane Irma's projected track shifted even farther west toward western Georgia. Twelve other shelters around the state remain on standby in case they become necessary. It is expected to strengthen before hitting Florida, forecasters say.

McMaster said that shelters will be open and others are available to open if needed.

McMaster said the rest of the state can evacuate if they don't feel safe. "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". Beaufort County: Bluffton High School, 12 H.C. McCracken Circle, in Bluffton; Battery Creek High, 1 Blue Dolphin Drive, in Beaufort.

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

South Carolina's emergency helpline is now active around the clock.

Forecasts early Friday showed the storm likely to head north through Florida and into Georgia and Tennessee.

"It's always a question of safety to people", McMaster said of making a decision to evacuate. But Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the path is too uncertain for people to relax.

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

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