February 24 2018

State of emergency expanded

February 24 2018, 05:51 | Van Peters

Source Live 5

Source Live 5

Thursday, President Trump declared a state of emergency in SC to allow the state to receive federal assistance for Irma's impacts - McMaster declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.

Irma is forecast to track along the Gulf coast of Florida and inland near Tallahassee through Monday morning.

Gov. Nathan Deal ordered all six Georgia coastal counties to start evacuating at 8 a.m. Saturday.

"We still can't let our guard down yet if the storm turns to the north quicker than expected", said Reid Hawkins, science and operations officer for the NWS.

Forecasts early Friday showed the storm likely to head north through Florida and into Georgia and Tennessee.

Cooper's also installed hurricane shutters over the windows of his house, along with moving all of the furniture from his lanai into the garage.

"The things we worry most about are street flooding and trees and of course a tornado affecting the area, so those are the things that we are most preparing for", Brandt said. In South Carolina, the impacted counties are Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Jasper, Hampton and Berkeley. Evacuees from Florida and Georgia are heading to or through the Palmetto State in large numbers. "The decision on school closings will continue to be made by school districts themselves". "So our consumer protection unit will be monitoring and will not tolerate any price gouging in our state".

Governor Deal also announced that state government offices will be closed Monday and Tuesday, with only essential personnel required to work. Windspeeds could reach 60 miles per hour in some places. Regardless, tropical storm winds from Irma were expected to reach the coast early Monday.

Gov. Henry McMaster could order coastal residents to evacuate their homes starting Saturday morning - his state already prepared to open 200 shelters and transport 10,000 people by bus if needed. With the exception of Interstate 20 from Augusta, which was carrying motorists from Georgia fleeing Irma, traffic Sunday was at pre-storm levels, or lower.

Federal forecasters have shifted the center of Irma well west of SC.

In addition, McMaster said, "branded" gas stations (Exxon, BP etc.) aren't experiencing shortages because they have contracts with the major oil companies.

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