COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has ordered an evacuation of many coastal communities and cancelled school in over half the state in advance of declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and is calling for some evacuations in the Lowcountry in advance of Hurricane Matthew.
Haley said the medical evacuations began Tuesday, and general evacuations are set to start at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Schools and government offices in the Lowcountry are also closed. Lane reversals will also begin at that time.
To 'know your zone' and determine vulnerability to storm surge, click here.
Nearly 4000 South Carolina officers will aid in the evacuation process, and the National Guard will also be present.
"If you can leave early, do that; the goal is to not leave all at once," Haley said.
An estimated 1.1 million could have to be evacuated.
The governor said the goal is to have everyone within 100 miles of the coast gone. She said storm surges of 5- to 7-feet are possible, and winds of 100 miles an hour are expected.
"As of right now, we're looking for Friday night into Saturday being pretty brutal," Haley
Many Midlands school districts will also be closed starting Wednesday. Here is the full list of schools that will be closed statewide: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg. Those districts will be closed for the remainder of the week. Government offices in those counties will be closed, too.
County offices in those areas will also be closed.
Some inland schools and county and state offices have been closed as the buildings will be used as shelters and to help ease the traffic on roads and highways as residents evacuate.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to reach the South Carolina coast Friday. Winds of 100 miles an hour are possible along the South Carolina coast. Due to the expected high winds, a burn ban will go into effect on Wednesday morning.
FEMA has deployed officials to state emergency operations centers in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. FEMA has also pre-positioned commodities and resources to incident support bases in Albany, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Below is the evacuation zone maps for South Carolina: (Having trouble seeing this? Click here)