South Carolina authorities are preparing to evacuate more than 1 million people – or about a quarter of the state’s population – from low-lying coastal areas as Hurricane Matthew threatens.
If the forecast doesn’t change before Wednesday morning, Gov. Nikki Haley says she will begin the massive evacuation effort that involves 3,700 law officers and reversing lanes to allow drivers on the wrong side of about a dozen highways at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
The evacuation order will likely include all of Beaufort County and Jasper County east of Interstate 95, most of Charleston, North Charleston and the barrier islands and suburbs east and west of the cities, and areas near and east of U.S. Highway 17 in Georgetown and Horry counties
The exact areas will be detailed in the evacuation order and found online at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website .
Emergency officials along South Carolina’s coast are reminding residents of evacuation routes and telling them to begin to think about how they can protect their property and lives from Hurricane Matthew.
The storm was about 1,000 miles from Charleston on Tuesday, But forecasters predict the hurricane will move near or along South Carolina’s coast late Friday into early Saturday as a category 2 storm.
State emergency management officials and county leaders are on heightened alert. No evacuations have been ordered, but Gov. Nikki Haley plans a news conference Tuesday afternoon to detail South Carolina’s preparations.
The state Climatology Office says a hurricane has not made landfall in South Carolina since Gaston moved ashore north of Charleston in August 2004.
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