Hurricane Irma shifts track, delaying SC evacuation plans

The state Emergency Operations Center is now fully activated at Operating Condition Three as state agencies prepare for any possible effects from Hurricane Irma. Islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties are covered by the order.

Branded gas stations are not experiencing shortages, and McMaster said drivers should not feel the need to repeatedly top up their tanks or take additional reserves.

Traffic congestion has eased on S.C. interstates, down to 15 percent above the normal load. The shelters are now only for South Carolinians, but they are preparing to receive residents from Florida and Georgia should they be needed.

(AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to decide whether to order residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma.

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

"The storm surge is not something to be taken lightly", McMaster said.

He continued to urge remaining stragglers to get out while they still can. Heavy rains could lead to flash flooding or river flooding throughout next week.

Even though it now appears that SC may avoid a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, forecasters are warning that the storm may bring "very significant coastal flooding" to areas such as Charleston. That executive order signed Thursday afternoon required hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers and other in-patient facilities in eight counties to immediately begin moving patients inland.

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Here is a list of open shelters: Colleton County: Colleton Middle School, 1379 Tuskegee Airmen Drive in Walterboro.

City of Columbia and Richland County will be closed Monday.

Bulletin High School and Battery Creak High School in Beaufort County will open as shelters at 9 a.m. Sunday. Winds could be as strong as 60 miles per hour farther south and west of Columbia.

Shelters on standby: Allendale: Fairfax Elementary School, 734 East 14th Street, in Fairfax; Allendale Elementary School, 4561 Allendale-Fairfax Highway, in Allendale; Charleston: North Charleston High School, 1087 East Montague Avenue, in North Charleston; Stall High School, 3625 Ashley Phosphate Road, in North Charleston.

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