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10 September 2017, 12:42 | Colleen Roy
South Carolina Gov. Henry Mc Master speaks at a news conference on Sept. 6 2017
Evacuations began at 10 a.m. Saturday. Counties on the barrier islands impacted were Colleton, Jasper and Beaufort. Hunting Island, Knowls Island, Knowles Island and Tullifini Island.
The hurricane forecast's westward shift has "relieved some of the tension" in SC, said Gov. Henry McMaster at a Saturday briefing from the state's Emergency Management Division.
The governor did not rule out moreevacuations.
Henry McMaster gave an update Saturday afternoon on the preparations state officials are making ahead of Hurricane Irma.
John Quagliariello, an official with the National Weather Service, said swells will likely be four to six feet high, four to 10 inches of rain are possible, tropical wind storm gusts can range from 30 to 70 miles per hour and flooding is expected, particularly on Monday.
McMaster said that shelters will be open and others are available to open if needed.
Other topics included tropical storm watches from the South Santee River to north of Edisto Beach, a hurricane watch issued from Edisto Beach to the state's southern border, and a storm surge watch issued from Isle of Palms to the South Carolina/Georgia border. As of Friday evening, the storm is expected to reach Florida this weekend as a Category 4 or 5 storm and travel up the state to Georgia where it should trail off to the northwest into Alabama or Tennessee.
The county and its municipalities have taken action to prepare for Irma. OPCON 3 ensures the appropriate specific hazard emergency plans are activated and ready should an emergency situation be imminent. That track, and the entire cone of uncertainty with it, has shifted entirely outside the state in recent National Hurricane Center updates.
McMaster said the rest of the state can evacuate if they don't feel safe.
Asked if Charleston-area residents who have have already evacuated the coast should decide to return to the area, McMaster said it was up to those individuals to make the right decision, although he urged caution.
Richland: Dent Middle School, 2721 Decker Boulevard, in Columbia.
People seeking information about the storm can call the county's Emergency Operation Center hotline 24 hours a day at 843-545-3273.
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