Irma could be more devastating to Georgia than Matthew

Irma could be more devastating to Georgia than Matthew

Irma could be more devastating to Georgia than Matthew

Irma was downgraded to a Category 4 overnight Thursday.

"This is considered an extremely unsafe, category 4 hurricane, with winds of more than 150 miles per hour", Deal said in a news conference with other state officials.

Gov. Henry McMaster said Friday he plans to make a decision later today about whether to evacuate residents from the coast, after the track for Hurricane Irma shifted west and away from SC.

McMaster said he does not anticipate a gas shortage but warns other state's interstate highways are already experiencing traffic jams because of evacuations from Florida.

Decisions on lane reversals in those areas will be made as needed. This year, the Beaufort and Jasper county sheriff's offices, as well as media across the state, have all used the term. Some fluctuations are expected in the next couple of days, but Irma is expected to stay powerful as it approaches Florida.

On Thursday, concern for the Southeast coast began to turn to the potential for what one forecasters called record storm surge from a storm about as large as SC.

Thursday, President Trump declared a state of emergency in sc to allow the state to receive federal assistance for Irma's impacts - McMaster declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.

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Bryson said he is still mostly concerned about the threat posed to Georgia's coast, although there is also the potential for hazardous weather farther inland in south Georgia.

Major coastal flooding is possible, threatening to cut off many coastal areas, including routes to and from barrier islands.

At the same time, McMaster rescinded a portion of an executive order issued Thursday calling on health care facilities and nursing homes to evacuate from coastal counties. The DHEC website states that: "Because of the destructive power of a hurricane, you should never ignore an evacuation order".

Irma is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it brushes by South Carolina Monday and into Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center, but heavy rains - up to 10 inches - and winds up to 50 miles per hour are possible.

Expected rainfall in Charleston area as Irma brushes through SC.

If Irma is as strong as predicted when it moves up the Southeast coast, "the portions of the coast that the eyewall touches will potentially see a massive and catastrophic storm surge, breaking all-time storm surge records and causing many billions of dollars in damage", said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for the private forecasting company Weather Underground.

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