Gov. McMaster issues mandatory evacuation for parts of Lowcountry counties

Credit FEMA

Credit FEMA

McMaster said during Friday's press conference that drivers also can expect to see more cars on the roads as evacuees from Florida, Georgia and the SC coast come into the area seeking refuge from Hurricane Irma.

Gov. Henry McMaster on Wednesday declared a state of emergency and said evacuations might be ordered on Friday.

Of those evacuated, 532 left Edisto Beach, 468 from Dafuskie Island, 743 from Fripp Island, 168 from Hunting Island, 42,000 from Hilton Head Island, 409 from Knowles Island and 32 from Tullifiny Island.

Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to announce a decision on the evacuation of coastal areas later today.

Leaders at Joint Base Charleston say they are monitoring the approaching Hurricane Irma and are reviewing checklists of storm preparations.

McMaster said the rest of the state can evacuate if they don't feel safe.

The National Hurricane Center predicts a storm surge of 4 to 6 feet along the state's southernmost coast, with the greatest impacts on Monday.

On Friday, the state activated a hurricane hotline that residents can call with questions about the storm.

We are optimists and are hoping for the best for all.

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The governor said he would wait until the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Irma before making the final decision.

Representatives with the Aiken County EOC said the storm models have shifted slightly west, but they are still expecting to receive tropical storm-force winds of 75 to 85 miles per hour sometime between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning.

On Thursday, President Trump approved South Carolina's emergency disaster declaration so it can get ready for the storm's impact.

State emergency officials said they don't want people to panic but want those in hurricane-prone areas to be prepared.

Bulletin High School and Battery Creak High School in Beaufort County will open as shelters at 9 a.m. Sunday. Georgetown County's official website, www.georgetowncountysc.org, has storm related information. On Thursday, an extra 27,000 vehicles were on the state's roads.

The utility warned residents and those who use the lake and Saluda River for recreation of fluctuating water levels.

"Please do not enter turbulent and swift water created by the hurricanes", Jiran said.

McMaster said he's likely going to order that schools in numerous state's 46 counties be closed both Monday (Sept. 11) and Tuesday (Sept 12) due to the storm. "We do not think we need to close schools statewide", the governor said.

While the league knows they will potentially be impacted by this storm in some capacity, they do not know, according to a press release, the totality of the impact at this time.

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