WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - While the latest projections on the track of Hurricane Irma show some positive signs for the Palmetto state, state emergency officials are still cautioning that the storm could produce major impacts.
In his most recent update to the state, Governor Henry McMaster would reinforce calls for residents on many of South Carolina's barrier islands to obey a mandatory order to evacuate.
State weather officials with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) say the hurricane could produce a storm surge of four to six feet in some coastal areas on Monday.
At this point, the National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for Edisto Beach and points south on the coast. A tropical storm watch is also in place for the south Santee River and other areas north of Edisto Beach.
Officials say the threat of very high winds from the storm is also a concern for much of the state.
"Right now we're hoping for the best and preparing for the worst," McMaster said, "and the hurricane seems to be going away from us but that doesn't mean it's gonna keep going away so we have to be vigilant."
The governor added that at this point it is unknown how many people followed the mandatory evacuation order for several barrier island communities. Residents on islands in Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties were asked to leave their homes on Friday. It also is not clear if more evacuations will be needed but the SC Department of Public Safety says it is prepared to assist with interstate lane reversals if necessary.
Officials with SCDOT say so far about 124,000 vehicles have taken to South Carolina roads to evacuate from Irma. They added that as of Saturday, traffic on several major interstates was moving along.
Governor McMaster added that the fuel supply for gas stations across the state is also still going strong but some stations may experience brief outages.