LANCASTER, S.C. - After Hurricane Irma is finished with Florida, it looks like the storm could end up moving along the Southeast Coast, and possibly having a substantial impact in the Carolinas.
Just after noon Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm's arrival.
"It is a precaution. This is not an order of evacuation," McMaster said in Columbia, South Carolina's capital, adding evacuations could be ordered as early as Friday - if needed. "Assume it's arriving tomorrow morning and get ready. When that hurricane is coming, when it gets close, it's too late."
Channel 9 reporter Greg Suskin was with emergency officials in Lancaster as they listened on a web conference with the National Weather Service in Columbia.
They said there's a significant wind threat, elevated tornado threat and elevated flooding threat for the state.
South Carolina Department of Transportation checked chainsaws to make sure they run if the wind damage is severe. They're also making sure trucks and special equipment is ready to head to any storm damage.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson also announced Wednesday that the state's law against price gouging went into effect.
"With the possibility that Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations. We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging and other commodities as defined by the statute. By out law, that's a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice," Wilson said.
Authorities provided an update on the preparations in North Carolina as well, where officials are working with FEMA and preparing for possible evacuations.
Emergency management leaders told Channel 9 they are looking at the different ways the storm could hit North Carolina, and trying to plan for them.
“We're unsure if this is going to be a coastal event, a western event, or if it’s gonna go right up through the middle of our state, so we're urging all people in North Carolina to be prepared for the impacts of Hurricane Irma,” said deputy director of North Carolina Emergency Management Mike Spayberry.
Officials said they want everyone to make sure they have enough food, water and prescription medication.
Charleston Southern cancels athletics due to Irma
Charleston Southern's football game at South Carolina State has been postponed because of the approach of power-packed Hurricane Irma.
The school said Wednesday that its football game Saturday along with a golf tournament on nearby Kiawah Island had been postponed because of the potential for the storm to strike the South Carolina coast.
Charleston Southern issued a mandatory evacuation for resident students by noon Friday.
Recent forecast tracks have the state of South Carolina in the path of the storm. Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency.
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