[image-1]Charleston and Beaufort counties are set to begin evacuations Wed. Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. in response to Hurricane Matthew, according to Gov. Nikki Haley. After slowing overnight, the storm remains a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph moving north to the Bahamas.

“It is still a Category 2 or 3 that we are expecting. All of the South Carolina coast is within that cone, so it is still all subject to possible storm damage as we go forward,” said Gov. Nikki Haley during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Due to the storm slowing, Haley said evacuation efforts for coastal counties will be carried out in stages, with evacuations for the greater Charleston County and Beaufort County areas beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. This will include lane reversals for I-26 corridor from Charleston to Columbia starting at that time. The S.C. Emergency Management Division has also advised that Wednesday’s evacuations extend to Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Jasper, Colleton, and Beaufort counties.

Evacuations for Georgetown and Horry counties will be moved to Thursday morning. The National Guard has been mobilized to assist with these efforts. Haley said 315 buses are en route to North Charleston Coliseum and should arrive after noon to transport residents to Greenville.

“What we’re trying to do is because the storm has changed, we are changing with the storm. I think that is very important that we make sure that we just do it in phases as we see that change,” said Haley. “Beaufort and Charleston definitely need to go ahead and plan on evacuating at 3 p.m., but because we saw that the storm has slowed down, we can move that evacuation for Georgetown and Horry to tomorrow morning.”