Irma is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it brushes by South Carolina Monday and into Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, but heavy rains - up to 10 inches - and winds up to 50 miles per hour are possible. But it remains a unsafe storm, officials say, with hurricane-force winds 70 miles from the storm's center and tropical-storm-force winds extending 185 miles, according to the Hurricane Center.
After passing through Florida, Irma is expected to weaken as it moves through Georgia. No other areas of the state have been ordered to evacuate.
SCDOT officials said there have been 124,000 additional vehicles on the roadways in SC due to evacuees from other states. A decision on evacuations could come Friday afternoon.
Due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, residents on those islands should prepare to evacuate their homes beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 9 at 10 a.m.
The assistance includes law enforcement, national guard, state fire rescue teams and other agencies as needed. The storm is projected to make landfall Sunday night or Monday morning near the Florida keys, possibly on the western side of the state. Beaufort County: Bluffton High School, 12 H.C. McCracken Circle, in Bluffton; Battery Creek High, 1 Blue Dolphin Drive, in Beaufort.
Lane reversals on I-26 will only happen, he said, if evacuations are ordered.
Strong wind gusts are possible in portions of the state, which could damage trees and powerlines. He said this could result in flash flooding, especially in the mountainous terrain and the Upstate. That track could take Irma west of SC. But Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the path is too uncertain for people to relax. They are leaving that up to local school districts.
Earlier Friday, McMaster rescinded a portion of an executive order issued Thursday calling on health care facilities and nursing homes to evacuate from coastal counties.
The deadly storm has devastated several islands in the Caribbean and caused massive evacuations across Florida and Georgia.
County offices along with city of Georgetown offices will be closed Monday except for essential personnel.