MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has a state of emergency in all of 46 counties.
“The state of emergency allows one of the best, most experienced emergency response teams in the entire world to begin organizing response efforts,” said McMaster.
McMaster made the declaration Wednesday after the National Hurricane Center’s forecast on Irma’s track shifted east, putting the prospect of a major hurricane just off the coast of Florida about 200 miles away from Charleston by Monday morning.
People in potentially vulnerable areas should review personal safety plans, become familiar with local evacuation zones in coastal counties and locate the nearest hurricane evacuation routes.
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“South Carolina is fortunate to have time to allow us to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall, and it is important that families and individuals in vulnerable areas use that time to review safety plans in case they are needed.”
Members of the state’s Emergency Response Team will begin reviewing plans and notify response staff should they be needed.
The Emergency Management Division has increased operational readiness to Condition 4. OPCON 4 is the next highest response level above normal, day-to-day activities, and emergency managers make initial preparations for the possibility of any hazardous situations. Select personnel from SCEMD’s Operations and Preparedness sections continue to monitor Hurricane Irma from the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.
South Carolina evacuated much of its coast in October when Hurricane Matthew skirted the shoreline before coming ashore just north of Charleston.
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The last major hurricane to hit South Carolina was Hugo in September 1989 with winds of 135 mph.
Meantime, a news conference will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday to discuss Irma.