Georgia, Carolinas Prepare for Possible Hurricane Irma Coastal Strike

Kristopher Drake
September 10, 2017

Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Wednesday, and while evacuations have not yet been ordered, residents along the coast have been told to prepare for that possibility.

Those islands include Edisto Beach, Dafuskie, Fripp, Harbor, Hunting, Hilton Head Island, Knowles and Tullifiny.

The governor said due to shifting forecasts, he's waiting until the next advisory from the National Hurricane Center, which will come down at 5 p.m. Friday.

A westward nudge in Hurricane Irma's path may have raised the flood threat for western parts of the Upstate, possibly bringing up to 8 inches of rainfall to northern Greenville County, according to the National Weather Service in Greer. Lane reversals along Interstate 26 would begin at that time as well.

McMaster said during his afternoon news conference that he decided not to issue an executive order closing schools around the state because the school districts can decide for themselves whether or not to close schools.

The Aiken County Emergency Operations Center announced Friday evening that it will remain remains at OPCON 3, and a decision will be made Saturday morning regarding a change in OPCON status. Now, only the 27 facilities and three hospitals in Beaufort and Jasper counties are being required to evacuate, the governor said.

McMaster said the state is prepared to open 200 shelters if needed.

"The hurricane has cooperated some, so far", McMaster said.

People in potentially vulnerable areas should review personal safety plans, become familiar with local evacuation zones in coastal counties and locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes. The increased traffic is mostly coming from Florida and Georgia hurricane evacuees. As was the case during Hurricane Matthew past year, an evacuation call from the governor would also initiate a plan to reverse all eastbound lanes of four major roadways, including I-26, which would be converted for westbound motorists from Charleston to Columbia.

State forecasters remained uncertain of the storm's path and cautioned that SC residents should remain vigilant.

Here is a list of open shelters: Colleton County: Colleton Middle School, 1379 Tuskegee Airmen Drive in Walterboro.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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