WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster will lift mandatory evacuation orders for three South Carolina counties as of 3 p.m. Thursday, but local authorities will decide when residents will be allowed back in.
Mandatory evacuation orders for Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties are being lifted at that time, McMaster said.
County and local authorities will make decisions as to when residents can return. Likewise, school districts will have the authority to decide when to resume classes in those counties.
The remaining five counties remaining in the governor’s mandatory evacuation order, Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Georgetown and Horry, remain under an evacuation order, McMaster said. Schools in those five counties will remain closed Friday, he said.
He did not give an indication as to when he would lift the order for the remaining counties.
“As you can gather, there’s a lot of thought and a lot of data that needs to be analyzed and a lot of conversations are needed to be able to make those decisions,” he said.
“The center is passing about 35 miles east of Bulls Bay, which is in northern Charleston County and the western side, which is where the strongest winds are located, is passing just about 10 to 15 miles off the coast, National Weather Service Meteorologist John Quagliariello said.
Strong wind gusts were reported along the coast, he said. A bouy five miles southeast of Fripp Island reported a 92-mph wind gust. Gusts recorded at Charleston Harbor reached 80 mph and gusts recorded at Charleston International Airport reached 69 mph, Quagliariello said.
As Dorian continues to lift, they expect to see wind gusts of 75 to 90 mph along the immediate coast of Georgetown and Horry Counties.
But it appeared the chance of tornadoes was ending as those bands lift north into North Carolina, he said.
“Storm total rainfall is expected to reach seven to 15 inches, highest in Georgetown and Charleston Counties,” he said. “And this amount of rainfall could result in significant flash flooding.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.