Columbia, SC (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday that mandatory evacuations and lane reversals would be in effect beginning Tuesday for eight counties along the South Carolina coast.
“This could be the first Category 4 hurricane (to hit SC) since Hugo,” McMaster said during a news conference Monday afternoon.
McMaster said people in Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Horry, Georgetown, and Jasper counties should begin evacuating by noon Tuesday. Schools in those counties will also close beginning Tuesday.
The governor said more than 1 million people will need to evacuate the coast.
Highways from Myrtle Beach and Beaufort will become one-way routes leading away from coast starting Tuesday.
I-26 will also be reversed between Charleston and Columbia as needed, a SCDOT spokesman said.
State government offices and schools will also close in 26 counties except for essential personnel beginning Tuesday. School buses will be used to assist in evacuations and schools can be used as shelters if needed.
The governor said he has also issued a mandatory medical evacuation for the 177 healthcare facilities impacted. Those evacuations started Monday afternoon.
Evacuation shelters will begin opening Tuesday through the state, SC Emergency Management Division Director Stenson said.
Hurricane Florence, now a category 4 hurricane, is expected to make landfall late in the week.
McMaster urged people to get moving and evacuate early.
"Don't take a chance and risk harm," the governor advised.
A state information hotline will become available Tuesday. Residents can call 1 (866) 246-0133 for any information on preparations and evacuations for the storm.
Visit the SC Emergency Management Division website for vital information related to evacuations, preparedness, and resources.
CLICK HERE to read the latest forecast from FOX Carolina meteorologists.