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Coastal residents should plan on evacuating and be prepared for an order for 10 am Saturday, McMaster.

At a press conference Saturday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said that while Hurricane Irma will apparently spare South Carolina the sort of devastating damage that came with Hurricane Matthew previous year, he urged residents not to let their guard down once the storm has passed.

McMaster said thousands of state employees are ready to help with the potential emergency and the evacuation, if ordered.

Quagliariello said the hurricane's change in direction is good news for the state, but impacts are still expected from Hurricane Irma, and any shifts will change the impacted areas. "We are taking a very cautious approach" said Major General Bob Livingston.

Even though Hurricane Irma's projected track has shifted westward and moved out of SC, heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts are expected in Aiken County when the storm passes through Georgia after pounding Florida.

Tropical storm-force winds also are possible Monday in some areas of the state, particularly south of Interstate 26 and in the western half of the Midlands.

"The hurricane has cooperated some, so far", McMaster said.

McMaster said he was not anticipating a gas shortage in the Palmetto State. The evacuations will begin at 10:00am on Saturday, September 9.

The governor said no lane reversals are planned as of Saturday afternoon. Shelters scheduled to be operating beginning tomorrow include the Colleton Middle School in Colleton County, Ridgeland High Junior and Elementary School in Jasper County.

Traffic on South Carolina's highways is already heavier than normal with residents fleeing Irma's projected path. He said this could result in flash flooding, especially in the mountainous terrain and the Upstate.

For Lowcountry residents leaving their cars parked, officials are urging them to park them up high, either on hills or in garages, to avoid getting caught in floods.

Fewer than 50 evacuees are staying in the state's three open shelters, officials said.

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

South Carolina's emergency helpline is now active around the clock. Beaufort County: Bluffton High School, 12 H.C. McCracken Circle, in Bluffton; Battery Creek High, 1 Blue Dolphin Drive, in Beaufort.


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