COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster revised a mandatory evacuation order that takes effect at noon and announced a lane reversal on I-26 began one hour earlier than originally planned.
The order is lifted for Jasper, Beaufort and Colleton Counties, with the exception of Edisto Island, McMaster said at a news conference Tuesday morning in West Columbia.
The mandatory evacuation remains in effect as of noon Tuesday for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry Counties.
"We must be vigilant," McMaster said. "We are in a very deadly and important game of chess with Hurricane Florence, and what we are doing, what Team South Carolina is doing, is staying one step ahead."
State offices in Colleton, Beaufort, Jasper, Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Hampton Counties will reopen Wednesday, McMaster said. Schools will open in those counties at the discretion of the local districts, he said.
Colleton County School District spokesperson Christine Strobel said Colleton County schools will remain closed through Friday to allow students, staff and their families time to prepare for the possible impact of the hurricane.
Beaufort County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the week, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
Jasper County Schools will be closed on Wednesday, but no decision has been made about the rest of the week.
The lane reversals on I-26 that were set to take effect at noon began one hour earlier at 11 a.m., he said.
Lane reversals on Highway 501 in Myrtle Beach will take effect at noon as planned.
SCDOT Sec. Christy Hall said they are monitoring significant traffic increases, particularly in the Myrtle Beach area, where they have recorded traffic volume from four to six times normal. In the Charleston area, they are seeing approximately three times normal traffic in westbound I-26 lanes, adding the lane reversals should help alleviate traffic in both areas.
The lane reversals will continue until further notice.
But lane reversals will not be implemented in Beaufort County on Highways 278 and 21, he said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.