Hurricane Irma’s path has shifted—and that path leads directly to South Carolina.
The state governor’s response to the news was swift. In a series of three tweets Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in the Palmetto State:
“The state of emergency allows one of the best, most experienced emergency response teams on earth to begin organizing response efforts. South Carolina is fortunate to have time to allow us to prepare for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall, and it is important that families and individuals in vulnerable areas use that time to review safety plans in case they are needed.”
The “superstorm” Irma is already being called the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history. It has already caused major damage in the eastern Caribbean, including St. Kitts and Nevis, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola (shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti). President Donald Trump has declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Officials are watching Irma exceedingly closely in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which swept across southeastern Texas last week and could end up costing the state $180 billion. Harvey killed about 50 people and displaced over a million from their homes.