WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster says he has lifted an evacuation order for barrier islands in three South Carolina counties.
The evacuation, announced Friday night, went into effect at 10 a.m. Saturday for Edisto Beach in Colleton County; Daufuskie Island, Fripp Island, Harbor Island, Hunting Island and Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County; and Knowles Island and Tulifinny Island in Jasper County.
he said Hilton Head, Daufuskie, Tulifinny, and Knowles Islands have already been opened for re-entry, but restricted access was being allowed on Harbor, Hunting and Fripp Islands and Edisto Beach. That access will be at the discretion of area law enforcement as conditions permit, he said.
McMaster urged caution and pleaded for patience for people returning to their homes.
The state began closing shelters Tuesday. Overnight, 24 shelters were opened and housed 1,059 people. As of 9:45 a.m., 18 shelters remained open and were housing 805 people.
SCDNR officials were in the process of reaching barrier islands by boat to make sure everyone who chose to stay was safe. Early Tuesday, they made contact with all residents of Dafuskie Island, confirming everyone was safe. None of them, when offered the chance to leave the island, chose to do so, SCDNR officials said.
Power outages remain a problem Tuesday morning as more than 197,000 people remain without electricity. Charleston County, which had the most power outages reported Monday afternoon, had dropped to the fifth-highest by Tuesday morning. The majority of outages are in the Upstate.
SCE&G's power grid is 80 percent restored, and crews from as far away as Arkansas are headed to South Carolina to help get power restored for everyone else.
On Monday afternoon, he toured a hurricane shelter in Columbia, meeting with about half of the 60 people inside.
After that visit, he praised the state's precautions in getting information out in advance of the storm as well as the efforts he saw to provide shelter for those who needed it.
"I think it's been a real good experience under these circumstances," he said. "It's worked very, very well. I'm real proud of everybody involved."
He said he has heard from evacuees who were passing through South Carolina and said they were considering a move to South Carolina because of how well they were welcomed.
As of late Monday afternoon, as many as a quarter-million people were left without power. Charleston County had the most power outages and Beaufort County had the second-most.
South Carolina opened a total of 25 shelters across 15 counties. McMaster said as of noon Monday, nearly 900 evacuees had taken shelter.
This is a developing story. Check back for additional information.