Hurricane Irma may bring 'major' coastal flooding to Charleston

BREAKING: Gov Deal expands state of emergency, issues mandatory evacuation order

The deadly storm has devastated several islands in the Caribbean and caused massive evacuations across Florida and Georgia.

The latest forecasts predict the storm will skirt along South Carolina's western border.

The storm is moving west-northwest at sixteen miles per hour, and has seen its strength dip noticeably over the last twelve hours.

McMaster says that any lane reversals to accommodate traffic will be left up to law enforcement. He has scheduled another news conference at 6 p.m. Friday.

The SCHSL has been monitoring the developing situation with Hurricane Irma.

McMaster also asked people to keep only a reasonable amount of gas in their vehicles and to avoid pumping more gas than needed out of deference to those who are evacuating to and through the state. Islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties are covered by the order.

The biggest question seems to be not whether he'll issue an order, but what counties will be included. Evacuees headed to shelters should bring blankets, pillows and cots.

McMaster said that there will be shelters opened in the three affected counties only.

McMaster did order 143 health care facilities along South Carolina's coast to evacuate their patients.

Irma is still projected to make landfall in Florida early Saturday as an "extremely risky major hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center", the Natoinal Hurricane Center in Miami said.

According to McMaster, "It's likely that I will announce tomorrow that schools and government offices will be closed on Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12 in some or all of the 46 counties in the state".

Irma will be weakened by going over Florida and Georgia, but the wind field will grow with areas south and west of Interstate 26 getting hit hardest, said John Quagliariello, a National Weather Service forecaster.

The county and its municipalities have taken action to prepare for Irma.

Irma is large enough to lash severe winds, perhaps up to 60 miles per hour, and heavy rain, up to 16 inches, across SC, according to the National Weather Service.

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