Gov. McMaster to announce final decision on state evacuations

Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to issue any evacuation orders.

The governor's comments came as outer bands of Irma began pouring rain on the state's southern coast.

If the current track holds, this monster storm could wreak untold death and devastation from the Florida Keys all the way through the heart of central North Carolina.

The flooding was only about ankle deep so far, the Charleston Post and Courier reports, but meteorologists at weather.com say flood waters will likely rise above levels seen previous year during Hurricane Matthew.

Saturday, McMaster said almost 45,000 people had been impacted by the Friday evacuation order that was put in place for barrier islands in Collecton, Beaufort and Jasper counties. "If the governor calls for a mandatory evacuation again, going back to asking people to leave, that's one reason we wanted people to get out ahead of time", said Chief Wilbur Daley, Jasper County Fire and Rescue.

He also addressed concerns for those "looters and mischief makers" on the barrier islands that have been evacuated.

"Western Carolina University Emergency Services has been monitoring Hurricane Irma and its potential impact on the university", WCU Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said in a statement Thursday.

Residents cleared out store shelves, grabbing the essentials as they prepared for the worst in cities like Charleston.

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Officials are urging residents to secure their waste bins in order to avoid the waste from becoming airborne in the strong winds predicted to accompany the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma is a risky storm and its projected path could put SC in harm's way.

"You don't necessarily need to buy bottled water, if you have old water containers or milk jugs you can fill that up from the tap...extra clothes everybody's got extra clothes, everybody's got books or playing cards around the house", Hawkins said.

"So we have plenty of room", McMaster said, "including for our friends coming from Georgia and Florida".

Deal's executive order also authorizes up to 5,000 Georgia National Guard members to be on active duty to support the response to and recovery from the storm.

With heavy rains, strong wind, and possible flooding ahead, the governor made a decision to add the remaining 65 counties to the state of emergency.

Officials said traffic was moving along interstates 26 and 95 as of Saturday afternoon with no major problems. They have requested a FEMA incident management team to expedite any federal assets that may be needed to respond to the storm.

McMaster ordered 143 health care facilities along South Carolina's coast to evacuate their patients.


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