‘Go now’ BSCO warns Beaufort residents of storm surge

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management held a press conference at 3:30 p.m. regarding Hurricane Irma.

According to Sheriff P.J. Tanner, mandatory evacuation from the barrier islands is going “very well.” This includes Hilton Head, Fripp, Daufuskie, Harbour and Hunting Islands.

Though the barrier islands are the only locations in Beaufort County with a mandatory evacuation, concern still remains for residents in low-lying communities.

“Those that are living in these areas are encouraged to move to a shelter, to move inland away from these areas,” says Sheriff Tanner.

Lt. Col. Baxley took the podium to address the latest weather update from the National Weather Service in Charleston.

“The storm surge for Beaufort County is extremely similar to that predicted for Tampa,” says Baxley, adding, “If you want to go, you need to go now.”

He encourages residents to leave the area within the next hour or two.

Two shelters are open in Beaufort County to any residents at Battery Creek and Bluffton High.

According to Lt. Col. Baxley 69 residents are at the Battery Creek Location, 26 at Bluffton High and 227 Beaufort County Residents are at the shelter in Richland in Jasper County.

One hundred residents remain on Fripp Island, but Lt. Col. Baxley says the shut-off from Beaufort-Jasper water may change that number.

While the final ferry from Daufuskie Island left at noon today, 95 residents decided to stay on the island.

Beaufort County remains under a tropical storm warning, storm surge warning, flash flood warning and hurricane watch.

Sheriff Tanner is hopeful that folks will be able to return on Tuesday but reiterates that the area could still be impacted by power outages and debris.

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