The largest barrier island involved in the evacuation is Hilton Head, which has more than 40,000 permanent residents.
The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Irma. The governor said he understands that people don't want to leave their homes and businesses unless absolutely necessary, but he made the call after discussions with state emergency officials.
The state of emergency prohibits price gouging for all goods and services related to the storm.
"We have a lot of people trained to respond", McMaster said.
"We are evacuating earlier than the rest of the county primarily due to the low-lying nature of Highway 80", said Buelterman. The path and strength of the hurricane when and if it hits the Lowcountry is still unknown. Or the storm could veer further west and cross the Florida Panhandle into Alabama.
So where should evacuating residents go?
A total of 30 Georgia counties are included in the state of emergency.
McMaster says a change in Irma's track back east might require more evacuations.
"Honestly, I can't tell you where safe is", Jones told reporters at a news conference.
On Thursday McMaster order the evacuation of some health care facilities along the coast.
McMaster said he's likely going to order that schools in numerous state's 46 counties be closed both Monday (Sept. 11) and Tuesday (Sept 12) due to the storm.
In an update Saturday, Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina emergency response crews weren't letting down their guard.
On Tybee Island east of Savannah, Ernie Laessig wasn't taking any chances with Irma.
He noted SC is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew a year ago and massive flooding in 2015. Many of them will be at local schools.
"I'm from Cuba, we're used to hurricanes".
An eastward shift in Irma's track could bring up to 12 feet of storm surge to portions of coastal Georgia, where the resulting wall of water could become even larger if the storm arrived at high tide, the National Weather Service said. Southeast Georgia could get 10 to 12 inches or rain. "You can rebuild your home, get your posesssions again, but you cannot rebuild your life or your family".
The remnants of the deadly hurricane are now projected to sweep into Alabama and Georgia by Monday morning, bringing strong winds and rain.
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