COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced, if necessary, he is prepared to begin evacuations of coastal communities Saturday at 10 a.m.
In a Hurricane Irma briefing Thursday afternoon, the governor said that health care facilities along the coast, to include those in Georgetown and Horry Counties, should begin evacuations Thursday at 2 p.m. Healthcare facilities include hospitals, nursing homes, substance abuse treatment facilities, assisted living facilities and other similar health services.
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The plan for evacuations, if enacted by the governor, calls for residents of coastal communities to evacuate beginning Saturday at 10 a.m., at which time the lane reversals on major roadways are also expected.
Gov. McMaster did not list specific counties that are to evacuate Saturday. He said emergency management personnel would monitor the storm and make that determination as the storm makes its northerly turn near Florida.
More than 2,300 law enforcement officers and National Guardsmen will work throughout the state to assist in evacuations, the governor announced.
The four major roadways that will host lane reversals are:
- US 501 in Horry County
- I-26 in Charleston
- US 21 in Beaufort County
- US 278 in Hilton Head
Gov. McMaster says if Hurricane Irma doesn’t take a “major turn” away from the South Carolina coast, evacuations will be necessary. He says evacuations will start with coastal communities and other areas could be added to the list as Irma’s path and strength become more clear.