South Carolina nixes evacuation plans as Irene trends east

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday the state is not planning any evacuations in advance of Hurricane Irene because forecasts show the storm is likely to miss much of the state's coast.

Haley said residents should still keep an eye on the weather and cautioned that people on the coast near the North Carolina line should still take precautions. But, she said that "after a long night of waiting" and watching forecasts, she determined the National Guard also no longer need to be on standby.

Irene is "going eastward an upward and that is what we wanted," she said.

Haley said warnings will be issued if the storm track changes in coming days.

The governor says officials in South Carolina coastal counties should be able to handle any issues brought by the storm and pledged to help North Carolina, where predictions show the storm could have a greater effect.

Irene's maximum sustained winds increased to near 115 mph Wednesday with additional strengthening forecast.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.