'We want people to get ready,' South Carolina officials say about hurricane

State emergency leaders say it's time to be prepared.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Hurricane Irma is on the way to the United States, and state agencies are preparing for the possibility the Category Five Storm will impact the Palmetto State and Tar Heel State. 

It's unsure which way it's headed but Derrec Becker with the Emergency Management Division says it's time to be prepared.

"We want people to get ready. After what we've been through the last two years and after seeing what happened after Hurricane Harvey, it's very understandable for people to be nervous about this storm. But we don't want people to be nervous. We just want them to be ready. Anything can happen at this point," explained Becker.

Just over a week ago, Hurricane Harvey devastated communities in southeast Texas. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources sent people out to the Lone Star State, but Captain Karen Swink says they're coming home.

"They all left this morning. All agencies in Newton and Jasper counties that were there assisting were released this morning. We anticipate them to being home tomorrow sometime in the afternoon," said Swink.

Swink also says storms in the state the past few years have helped DNR be more prepared if Irma does impact the state.

“Last year, we had our very first evacuation using lane reversals. We’ve had the best on-the-job training that anyone could possibly have. I promise you what we have been planning for years, if it happens next week,will come into fruition,” explained Swink.

The state is talking with other agencies in case the hurricane does impact South Carolina. In the meantime, Becker says to check your emergency plans.

"Review your hurricane plan, make sure everyone in your family knows what to do in the event that you do have to evacuate, but at this point, the only thing we need you to do is to monitor the storm, monitor the information coming into SCEMD and if your local city officials say anything that makes any sort of recommendation for your personal safety, do so," said Becker.

The best thing to do now is to not panic and be ready for anything that may come here to the Palmetto State.
If you want to be up-to-date on all Hurricane Irma alerts, download our weather app or sign up for our text alerts. 

Click here for the latest on Hurricane Irma and it's impact on both North and South Carolina.

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