Governor orders evacuation of barrier islands in Beaufort, Jaspe - FOX Carolina 21

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Governor orders evacuation of barrier islands in Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton counties

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UWM/SSEC/CIMSS, William Straka III/NASA A satellite of image of Hurricane Irma as obtained by NASA and NOAA. UWM/SSEC/CIMSS, William Straka III/NASA A satellite of image of Hurricane Irma as obtained by NASA and NOAA.
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, urging citizens to prepare for possible landfall from Hurricane Irma.

The hurricane's track remains uncertain, but category 4 Irma is taking aim at the East Coast. The latest forecast models released at 5 a.m. Friday show the storm making landfall and then heading into Georgia. The projected path could change, but if this track holds, South Carolina will still be impacted and see major wind, rain, and an increased tornado risk, meteorologist Isaac Williams said.

LATEST: LATEST Irma track still brings heavy rain and wind locally

Emergency officials said they are conducting preparations for a category 4 hurricane, although Irma is expected to weaken before it reaches the Carolinas.

“The state of emergency allows one of the best, most experienced emergency response teams in the entire world to begin organizing response efforts,” McMaster said. “South Carolina is fortunate to have time to allow us to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall, and it is important that families and individuals in vulnerable areas use that time to review safety plans in case they are needed.”

At 7:45 p.m. on Friday, McMaster announced the mandatory evacuation of barrier islands in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties. This includes: Edisto, Fripp, Daufuskie, Hilton Head, Harbor, Hunting, Knowles and Tullifini islands.

Lane reversals will not be implemented but the governor said SCDOT officials will be on hand in case of traffic issues in these counties. Colleton Middle Schools, Ridgeland High School, Bluffton High School and Battery Creek High School will serve as shelters.

He said on Friday that no statewide school or government closings would be ordered at this time. Closing decisions would be made on a district and county basis.

On Friday, McMaster rescinded a mandatory evacuation of healthcare centers for some counties including Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties are still under a mandatory order to evacuate healthcare facilities.

Below are a list of tips from SC Emergency Management on how to prepare before a hurricane:

  • Have a hurricane plan and ensure everyone in the household knows the plan.
  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Have an emergency supplies kit prepared, to include at least: three days' drinking water (two quarts per person per day);  non-perishable food; flashlight with extra batteries; portable battery-operated radio; first-aid kit; non-electric can opener; essential medicines; cash and credit cards.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in official shelters.
  • Protect your home by covering windows with permanent shutters, plywood panels or other shielding materials.  Bring in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become a hazard during high winds.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Fuel up and service family vehicles.

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