Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Lane reversals are now in effect for parts of South Carolina as the state attempts to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people in advance of Hurricane Matthew.
State officials announced Wednesday afternoon that all of Interstate 26 Eastbound from the I-77 interchange in Columbia down to I-526 in Charleston has been closed to regular traffic. From the next few days, those lanes will be reversed, meaning all lanes of the interstate will be flowing away from the coast.
The Highway Patrol says people should not remove any barricades posted at exits.
On Tuesday, Governor Nikki Haley ordered evacuations for most coastal communities in the state. Wednesday morning, she amended the order to say that people living along the Pee Dee and Grand Strand region near Myrtle Beach didn't need to begin evacuations until Thursday because the timeframe for Matthew's arrival had slowed down.
"I don't want to sit there and talk about fatalities," Haley said. "Our goal is to save anybody we can."
The coastal areas are divided up into zones, and people can find out if the evacuation applies to them by going to the SCEMD website. We've also set up a resource guide here: SC Evacuations and Lane Reversals: What You Need to Know
Medical evacuations from the coast began Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon, a fleet of school buses from Greenville County went to the Charleston Coliseum to pick up evacuees who couldn't transport themselves away from the coast.
Matthew's track is still uncertain, but it's expected to impact South Carolina's weather late Friday and all day Saturday.
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