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SC Gov. says he needs more information to make decision on evacuation

The forecasted track of Hurricane Irma

Concerns of a storm surge of 4 to 6 feet has led Gov. Henry McMaster to call for a mandatory evacuation for the barrier islands of Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper Counties.

Residents of those eight islands - home to more than 44,400 - evacuated smoothly on Saturday, the governor said at a 2 p.m. press conference. Islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties are covered by the order. Edisto Beach is also being evacuated, along with Harbor, Hunting, Fripp, Daufuskie, Tullifini and Knowles islands.

McMaster said he signed a memorandum of understanding with Florida Gov. Rick Scott to provide assistance from SC first responders, law enforcement, state fire and rescue teams and other agencies as needed.

The governor did not rule out more evacuations.

Traffic on South Carolina's highways is already heavier than normal with residents fleeing Irma's projected path.

"I have full confidence in our member schools to make decisions that serve the best interest of students and communities", SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton said.

SC Gov. says he needs more information to make decision on evacuation

Shelters will be open at Bluffton and Battery Creek High Schools starting on Sunday afternoon.

The deadly storm has devastated several islands in the Caribbean and caused massive evacuations across Florida and Georgia. He said there are 4-7 inches of rain possible with 10 inches of rain possible across the most southern part of the state. The shelters are now only for South Carolinians, but they are preparing to receive residents from Florida and Georgia should they be needed. Georgetown County's official website,, has storm related information. OPCON 3 ensures the appropriate specific hazard emergency plans are activated and ready should an emergency situation be imminent.

A statement on Georgetown County's official Facebook page said, "We still anticipate some impacts from Hurricane Irma, based on its current track".

Even as Irma tracks west, hurricane force winds could extend up to 70 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds can extend 185 miles. McNoldy says forecasters had expected a high-pressure system to weaken further north, allowing Irma to make the turn, but it is not weakening as fast as originally forecast.

The Columbia area is unlikely to experience hurricane-force winds but could see tornadoes Monday, forecasters said around midday Saturday.