South Carolina lifts mandatory evacuations for southern coastal counties

- Residents in the southern most parts of South Carolina no longer need to evacuate due to Hurricane Florence. Following updated predictions, Gov. Henry McMaster, in coordination with state and local officials, lifted the mandatory evacuation order for zones in Beaufort, Colleton, and Jasper counties, with the exception of Edisto Beach.

The mandatory evacuation executive order remains in effect for all zones in Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties and for Edisto Beach.

McMaster has ordered that schools and state offices in the following counties will be open beginning Wednesday, September 12: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Beaufort, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper.

Evacuation shelter locations for those evacuating from the state’s northern and central coastal counties will be available on scemd.org, McMaster said. 

Evacuees should pack the following essential items in anticipation of a potentially prolonged evacuation period: required medications, adequate clothing, and essential personal items. Residents going to evacuation shelters should bring their own blankets, pillows, cots, and special food items if they are on restricted diets.

People who live in the following coastal areas must evacuate beginning 12 p.m. Tuesday. 

Northern South Carolina Coast (All Zones)

  • Horry County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Georgetown County Evacuation Zones A, B, C

Central South Carolina Coast (All Zones)

  • Charleston County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Dorchester County Evacuation Zones D, E, F
  • Berkeley County Evacuation Zones B, G, H, I

Southern South Carolina Coast

  • Edisto Beach

McMaster said storm surge could reach as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and estimates 1 million residents will be leaving the coast. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and U.S. 501 heading into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect.

RELATED: Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen

McMaster has already declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and asked President Donald Trump for a federal declaration ahead of the storm, which intensified Monday to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (195 kph).

Forecasters said the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a dangerous storm by the time it reaches the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

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