Columbia, SC (WLTX) - All evacuation orders for South Carolina will no longer be in effect by Sunday morning, as the state will allow all coastal residents to go back to their home after Florence moved though.
Governor Henry McMaster announced late Saturday afternoon that the orders for Horry and Georgetown counties had been lifted. They were the last two counties under the order. Earlier in the, he announced the counties under Charleston were no longer restricted from going home.
On Monday, McMaster ordered nearly a million people to evacuate because of the threat of the storm, which at that point was a Category 4 hurricane. He scaled back that order to release the Hilton Head area from its provisions.
Meanwhile, Governor McMaster said efforts in response to Florence are now transitioning to preparation for major flooding events along the Grand Strand and in the Pee Dee area.
Among the chief concerns are four bridges that officials expect to be overtopped by flood waters. In response to Governor McMaster's request to keep at least one major roadway into Horry County open, SCDOT secretary Christy Hall said DOT is working with a number of state and federal agencies to shore up and protect Highway 378 into Horry County.
Governor McMaster also extended sympathies to the family of Amber Dawn Lee, the first reported storm-related death in South Carolina.
Though weakened, Florence remains a very large, slow and dangerous storm as it swirls over the Carolinas.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence's top sustained winds were holding at 45 mph (75 kph), with higher gusts east of the storm's center.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Florence was inching west at 3 mph (6 kph), with its center located about 50 miles west of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Forecasters say prolonged rainfall from Florence could produce catastrophic flash flooding and significant river flooding.
Tropical storm-force winds stretched up to 150 miles from the storm's center.
A mandatory evacuation order has been put in place for anyone who lives within a mile of the banks of North Carolina's Cape Fear River and Little River.
Officials from Cumberland County, Fayetteville and the town of Wade issued the order early Saturday afternoon, saying residents there face "imminent danger" from flood waters expected to arrive in the area soon.
Residents are being asked to leave immediately. Officials said flood waters from other areas are accumulating north of the county and filling the river basins beyond their capacities. They asked that the evacuation begin immediately and that everyone within the evacuation areas get out by 3 p.m. Sunday.
Seven emergency shelters are open in the county.
Officials in South Carolina are reporting the state's first fatality due to Florence, bringing the storm's overall death toll to at least five.
A 61-year-old woman was killed late Friday when the vehicle she was driving struck a tree that had fallen across Highway 18 near the town of Union.
Four weather-related deaths have been reported in North Carolina.