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McMaster orders evacuation of several barrier islands

09 September, 2017, 12:13 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Deal adds Echols to state of emergency

A 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center showed little change in Hurricane Irma's path from Friday morning as the Category 4 storm shifted slightly westward and continued to make its approach toward Cuba at a speed of 12 miles per hour.

Henry McMaster announced his decision on hurricane evacuations Friday evening.

The governor asked South Carolinians to avoid using the interstates if possible to help cut down on traffic.

"There will be no other evacuations for other counties", McMaster said.

McMaster also signed two executive orders Thursday.

Bluffton High School and Battery Creek High School can be used as shelters.

The aide is in addition to National Guard personnel from New Jersey already sent to Texas and Florida to provide hurricane assistance.

The eight islands were chosen for evacuation because of expected storm surge of up to six feet when Irma passes by SC on Monday, the governor said at a news briefing shortly before 8 p.m.

Deal adds Echols to state of emergency

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

The eastern edge of Irma's predicted path, the storm's more powerful side, remains close to the Lowcountry coastal areas.

McMaster said he is awaiting the next update from the National Hurricane Center.

The largest barrier island involved in the evacuation is Hilton Head, which has a permanent population of more than 40,000.

A S.C. Department of Transportation map with evacuations routes from Hunting Island and Edisto Beach. Just Pickens, Anderson, Abbeville and McCormick counties along with portions of Edgefield, Aiken and Barnwell counties remain directly in the National Weather Services' storm forecast cone as of 8 p.m. Friday, though Irma's path could shift before the storm reaches the state Monday. The storm's maximum sustained winds - which howled at 185 miles per hour for almost two days earlier this week - have dipped to 150 miles per hour as of 8:00 a.m. EDT.

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, he said though a mandatory evacuation has not been officially ordered yet, if people are able to, they can begin leaving coastal areas.

The University of South Carolina, Allen and Benedict universities, Columbia College, and the Richland 1, 2, Lexington 1, 2 and Lexington-Richland 5 school districts will be closed Monday.



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