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Forecasters say Irma now aimed at Keys, Tampa

Source Live 5

The expanded order also includes a mandatory evacuation for all areas east of I-95, all of Chatham County and some areas west of I-95 that could be impacted by potential storm surge from Hurricane Irma, beginning 8 a.m. Saturday Sept. 9.

Governor McMaster says over 54,000 sand bags have been filled, and thousands are left for anyone in need.

Winds gusts of about 40 miles per hour are expected here, he said, along with about 3.5 inches of rainfall, though that rainfall amount could vary.

"If all of that rain doesn't come at one time, our creeks have the ability to handle it", Player said.

According to the executive order, the state of emergency will be in act until September 17, at 11:59 p.m. Hurricane-force winds extended out nearly 70 miles from the eye of the storm. Twelve other shelters around the state remain on standby in case they become necessary.

"The thinking there is if we had higher winds, that residents in manufactured housing would be the most at risk", he said.

Right now, there are no immediate plans to open shelters at either school, based on the predicted weather conditions.

So where should evacuating residents go? He said if a shelter is opened, "That's the best way to get information out". Player said that firefighters in the Kershaw area are already having issues getting diesel for their fire trucks. He also cautioned against topping off gas tanks every day.

"There's a lot of stresses on the fuel system", Player said.

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

Rick Jiran, Duke's vice president of community relations, said flow released from reservoirs would be high before and after Irma passes through.

McDowell County Emergency Services Director William Kehler said his agency has been reviewing preparedness items, communicating with partner agencies, communicating with critical healthcare facilities and reviewing documentation from Hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004.

DHEC says regulated dam owners have been notified to lower water levels and that they've inspected over 90 dams across the state.

Meteorologists are urging people who live within or near Irma's projected path to not focus on the precise location of the storm, as its effects can be felt within a radius of hundreds of miles.

◆ An estimated 2 to 4 inches of rainfall Monday and Tuesday. "The strongest winds are expected during the daylight hours of Monday".

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, dressed in his military fatigues as a member of the state national guard, reminded residents that the state's price-gouging laws are in full effect, prohibiting anyone from selling goods or lodging at an "unconscionable price" during the emergency situation.

Cooper also echoed today's Nation Weather Service warnings of severe rip currents and unsafe surf along the southeastern coast, including Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties.

Storm winds and rain are expected by Saturday night.