Beaufort County still not under mandatory evacuation despite changes to Florence forecast


South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation order for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties Tuesday morning. There will be no lane reversals in those counties.

His announcement came after a Monday press conference in which he ordered all coastal counties in the state to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner held a press conference Wednesday morning and reiterated that Beaufort County had not changed its evacuation status. He cautioned residents to closely monitor Hurricane Florence. The storm’s forecast has shifted southward in the last 24 hours.

Beaufort County officials said they were prepared for the worst, including a mandatory evacuation and lane reversals.

“If you’re uncomfortable, if you had damage during Irma or Matthew, you may want to consider leaving,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “You’re not being asked to leave but we would encourage you to do what you think is best.”

For all other coastal counties, an evacuation went into effect Tuesday, Sept. 11 at noon. Lanes will be reversed on several highways in the state. Lanes traveling on I-26 between Charleston and Columbia will all travel away from Charleston toward Columbia. The state said it was seeing at least three times the normal traffic volume on I-26.

More than 400 hundred officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will be stationed in the coastal areas to help assists evacuation and protect property.

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