South Carolina officials watching Hurricane Irma’s approach

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Emergency officials in South Carolina are warning residents to remain alert as Hurricane Irma approaches.

Forecasts early Friday showed the storm likely to head north through Florida and into Georgia and Tennessee. But Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the path is too uncertain for people to relax.

Becker said Friday morning it is important for South Carolinians to review emergency plans and to prepare for high winds and heavy rains.

He noted South Carolina is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew last year and massive flooding in 2015.

A decision on evacuations could come Friday afternoon. Those evacuations could start Saturday morning and include some lane reversals on roads leading from the coast.

McMaster said the state is prepared to open 200 shelters if needed.

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