Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday said he will order evacuations along all of South Carolina’s coastal zones starting at noon Tuesday.
The governor said his order will cover all evacuation zones from Jasper County along the Georgia border northward to Horry County. The zones include inland areas located along rivers or tidal creeks which could flood over their banks. Roughly one million people live in the impacted areas.
“This evacuation order will be inconvenient for some people but we do not want to risk one South Carolina life in this hurricane,” McMaster said in a press conference Monday.
The order also means officials will switch the eastbound lanes of four major highways so that traffic can only head away from the coast. That includes Interstate 26 heading out of Charleston, U.S. 501 out of Myrtle Beach, U.S. 278 out if Hilton Head and U.S. 21 in Beaufort. The lane reversals will also begin at noon Tuesday.
McMaster said the state has also ordered county and municipal governments to close down after Tuesday, including schools, across all counties south and east of Columbia. That include the Lexington and Richland counties.
As of 11 a.m., Monday, Florence was recorded at Category 4 with maximum winds of 130 miles per hour. Current forecasts have the storm reaching the Carolinas coastline by late Thursday night. The Monday morning projections show Florence’s center coming ashore in the vicinity of the Grand Strand and Wilmington, North Carolina.