COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is stressing to state residents that while the brunt of Tropical Storm Irma was not as bad as initially believed, the storm remains a threat to the state into Tuesday morning.
"We're very proud of how the citizens have responded to our urgings and warnings and information," McMaster said. "This is a plan that went according to how it was devised. The hurricane gave us a little break by going slightly in another direction from what was planned, but it's still a dangerous storm that still has a lot of danger out there."
Appearing at South Carolina Emergency Management Division headquarters, McMaster maintained that residents in the Lowcountry should stay put until the storm is over.
"There's no need to put yourself, your families, or our first responders at risk," McMaster said.
Emergency management officials also stressed that widespread flooding and the storm surge were still issues in the Lowcountry on top of the potential for tornadoes.
In downtown Charleston, storm surge and high surf have gone over the Battery, causing flooding. As a result, state officials are stressing residents should not travel to Charleston at this time.
Power outages have also been widespread in the state with over 146,000 customers without power. SCE&G, the state's electric cooperatives, and Duke Power workers are on the ground working to restore power.
But the focus remains on the Lowcountry and barrier islands at this time where the governor issued an evacuation order over the weekend. McMaster said discussions are already underway to allow re-entry to those areas, but no decision has been made yet.
Currently, the outer bands of Irma are striking South Carolina, particularly in the Lowcountry where a tornado watch has been issued there until 2 p.m.