COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster reminded people of the dangers of Hurricane Florence despite an ever-changing forecast currently pointing it more towards North Carolina.
McMaster urged people in areas under Tuesday's mandatory evacuation order to leave now if they haven't already done so.
"If you're going to leave — and you should leave — if you have not left these evacuation zones, you should leave now because time is running out," McMaster said. "That window of opportunity is closing on you very quickly."
McMaster warned that once tropical storm-force winds begin moving in, rescuers will not be able to assist people because the rescuers themselves will be moving to safety. He also said power could be out for a long time and suggested residents think now about what they will need power for.
State Department of Transportation Sec. Christy Hall said that when the I-26 lane reversal begins to be dismantled Thursday evening at 6 p.m., that should not be viewed as an indication the mandatory evacuation has been lifted. Instead, the state has to move its personnel and equipment from the interstate ahead of the arrival of tropical storm-force winds.
On Wednesday, McMaster, along with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Natural resources and others stressed the potential dangers that Hurricane Florence could bring as it makes its way to the Carolinas, drawing similarities to Hurricane Hugo.
"This Hurricane is bringing some rain and water that we have not seen before in Hurricane," McMaster said, "Winds may match that of Hugo, but Florence may bring more rain."
McMaster also said there may be water coming from rivers from North and South Carolina, which could lead to flooding.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety said they will begin to close the reverted routes on I-26 at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Those who are in front of the state trooper cars as they close the reverted lanes, but after that residents can only take westbound lanes to Columbia.
Residents who are in Columbia will not be able to get to Charleston via I-26 during the storm.
"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best," McMaster said he told residents.
In past press briefings, the governor has issued lane closures, mandatory evacuations, closed schools, and given preparedness updates from various agencies.