No Decision Yet on Evacuations for SC Coast, Governor Says

Violet Powell
September 10, 2017

The following counties are still part of that evacuation: Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper.

More than 42,000 were forced to evacuate Hilton Head Island Saturday morning.

He said he may close schools statewide Monday and Tuesday but would not make that decision until Friday.

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

Residents of those eight islands - home to more than 44,400 - evacuated smoothly on Saturday, the governor said at a 2 p.m. press conference.

The governor signed a memorandum of understanding Saturday with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida to provide assistance from South Carolina's first responders, law enforcement, national guard and state fire rescue teams as needed.

Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, has already killed at least 10 people in the Caribbean and could hit South Florida and the southeast coast this weekend with potentially devastating results.

Hurricane Irma bears down on Fla.

"Irma will likely bring periods of heavy rain to much of Georgia, South Carolina, and western North Carolina early next week", the NHC said, "All areas seeing heavy rainfall from Irma will experience a risk of flooding and flash flooding".

McMaster's comments came as SC prepared for the arrival of a monster storm that has chewed up the Caribbean and threatens Florida, though whether it might land in SC and what path it may take was still far from certain. Georgetown County's official website, www.georgetowncountysc.org, has storm related information. And daily briefings are being held for local officials. OPCON 3 ensures the appropriate specific hazard emergency plans are activated and ready should an emergency situation be imminent.

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.

Even as Irma tracks west, hurricane force winds could extend up to 70 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds can extend 185 miles. "Anyone who has concerns about their safety can still, of course, voluntarily relocate further inland and/or to higher ground".

County offices along with city of Georgetown offices will be closed Monday except for essential personnel.

A rip current advisory has been issued for the county's beaches.

Andy Shain and Jamie Lovegrove with the Post and Courier contributed to his report.

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