McMaster lifts evacuation order, 'We're happy the hurricane went somewhere else'

McMaster lifts evacuation order, 'We're happy the hurricane went somewhere else'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said South Carolina weathered Irma well.

"We're very happy the hurricane went somewhere else," the Governor said in a Tuesday morning news conference. "This Team South Carolina is terrific . . . we've had some experience. I think we're fortunate to escape the main blast."

McMaster and the heads of state agencies provided storm updates at the news conference from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.

Earlier in the morning, McMaster lifted all evacuation orders for the barrier islands.

"We urge everybody to use patience as they return home," McMaster said. "Ask that you comply with the specific restrictions from local law enforcement and local governments as you return home."

The highest wind gust in the state was recorded at Parris Island Monday at 76 miles per hour.

On Tuesday, local governments began assessing the damage, which will be reported to the state agencies. Kim Stenson with the SC EMD said his department will help with damage assessments and debris management.

Two deaths are blamed on the storm in South Carolina. One involved an Abbeville County man who was killed by a falling tree branch and the other was a fatal crash on Interstate 77 Monday near Columbia.

"We sustained very little damage to infrastructure," said SC Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. "Just a few pockets of closed roads across the state."

Hall said crews are working to clear debris from roads, and repairs are being made on a section of I-95 North in Dillon County and the U.S. 21 Harbor River Bridge in Beaufort County. Hall also said congestion is reported on Interstate 26 and 95 as people evacuated from Florida return home.

DHEC will begin inspecting dams and property owners who have dams are encouraged to check on their own for damage.

The South Carolina Fire Marshal said local fire and emergency agencies were able to handle calls for service on their own, without requesting state help. As an example, Oconee County reported 715 storm-related calls overnight, which amounts to 10 percent of its annual call volume.

When asked about the potential preparations for Hurricane Jose, which is spinning in the Atlantic currently, McMaster replied, "We hope we don't see Jose."

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