Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster says evacuations in the state could begin Saturday morning unless the forecast for potential impacts from Hurricane Irma changes.

"If you can leave now, go ahead," McMaster said Thursday to people near the coast, who he expect to issue an evacuation order for in less than two days.

McMaster said thousands of state employees are ready to respond to a potential emergency.

"We have a lot of people trained to respond," McMaster said.

Here are the key points from Thursday's briefing:


Governor McMaster said if he makes the order for evacuations, they would begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

He urges people to look up their evacuation routes now, and be ready to follow those routes, not what they may find on Google.

"Follow the evacuation signs," he says.

IMPORTANT: This would be for coastal counties only. These evacuations would not be for the central part of the state, or the Upstate.

McMaster has already ordered an evacuation for medical facilities near the coast. That includes hospitals, nursing homes, hospitals, assisting living centers, and substance abuse hospitals, among others.

That evacuation of facilities began around he 2 p.m. Thursday.

The counties included in that order are Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton,, Dorechester, Charleston, Berkeley, and Georgetown and Horry.