By Associated Press - Monday, September 11, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the effects of Tropical Storm Irma in South Carolina (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Officials in Beaufort County say they will assess the damage from Tropical Storm Irma at daylight Tuesday and hope to have an announcement on whether evacuated residents can return a short time later.

The county said they need to make sure roads are clear of trees and bridges and causeways were not damaged by the storm surge that washed over them Monday from Irma.

County officials say they will consult with the governor’s office and decide by 8:30 a.m. whether people can return to Hilton Head Island and three other islands placed under mandatory evacuation orders Friday.

Workers also took several videos around Beaufort County and posted them on the county’s YouTube page .


6:40 p.m.

A boat that became a coastal South Carolina icon when Hurricane Hugo washed it some 2 miles onshore has been relocated in Tropical Storm Irma.

The boat had sat undisturbed after it ended up on the side of state Highway 171 in 1989 in the surge from Hurricane Hugo. On Monday, it floated about a half-mile into a dock Monday in Irma’s surge, settling into the marsh.

The boat was unclaimed after Hugo, and people began painting messages on it from marriage proposals to congratulations for graduations and other milestones. There was even a brief controversy this summer as Confederate flag supporters and people against the rebel banner kept painting over the boat.

The boat was painted over the weekend with a message . “Godspeed Florida,” it read. “This too shall pass.”


6:25 p.m.

Authorities are reporting the first death in South Carolina related to Tropical Storm Irma.

Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley said 57-year-old Charles Saxon was cleaning limbs and debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls around 3 p.m. Monday when a limb fell on him.

Ashely said in a news release that Saxon died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered.

The National Weather Service says winds in the area were gusting to around 40 mph (65 kph) at the time Saxon was killed. Calhoun Falls is located 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Greenville.


4:20 p.m.

About 250,000 customers in South Carolina are without power as the winds from Tropical Storm Irma topples trees and power lines.

Most of the outages Monday afternoon were reported by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas.

Charleston County had about 60,000 power outages, while Beaufort County reported about 32,000 customers without electricity and Lexington County just west of Columbia reported 27,000 outages.

The rest of the outages are scattered across South Carolina.

Officials say the number of closed roads in the state has increased to 164 in 10 counties.


3:45 p.m.

Even South Carolina’s governor isn’t immune from Tropical Storm Irma’s wrath.

Gov. Henry McMaster says a massive oak tree fell on an apartment building he owns in Columbia around noon Monday.

McMaster says the college students living at apartments are safe. The governor says “no one suspected it might fall,” but the tree destroyed two apartments in the two-story building.

The Columbia Fire Department says the fallen tree has left up to eight people without a home, but no one was injured.

One displaced resident told WIS-TV the tree crashed through her apartment to the one below, taking furniture with it.


3 p.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster says floodwaters and downed trees have closed more than 80 roads in South Carolina.

But McMaster said Monday afternoon he knew of no fatalities amid Tropical Storm Irma, which brought wind gusts of up to 72 mph on Folly Beach and the state’s third-highest recorded storm surge.

The governor says the road closures are spread across seven counties.

As of noon Monday, 25 shelters were housing nearly 900 evacuees.

There were about 750 National Guardsmen on duty on Monday. Adjutant General Robert Livingston says South Carolina officers will leave Tuesday morning to help out in Florida.


2:15 p.m.

Tropical Storm Irma has now knocked out power to around 190,000 customers in South Carolina.

Most of the outages Monday afternoon were reported by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas.

Charleston County had about 60,000 power outages, while Beaufort County reported about 39,000 customers without electricity.

The rest of the outages are scattered across South Carolina as the winds from Irma spread across the state.


1:45 p.m.

The mayor of a South Carolina beach town under mandatory evacuation orders says seven people have been rescued from rising floodwaters.

Edisto Beach Mayor Jane Darby says a family of four was rescued from their vehicle about noon Monday from a curve near the beach’s pier. She says the family had “decided all of a sudden” they needed to leave.

They are among an estimated 70 people still in the town of 530 people, despite Gov. Henry McMaster’s evacuation order Friday night.

Darby says emergency officials also rescued three media employees.

Darby says the town of Edisto Beach is “under water,” with power lines and trees down. The town has suspended all emergency calls because “it’s too dangerous.”


1:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood emergency for Charleston as heavy rains begin to move into areas already flooding by ocean surge from Tropical Storm Irma.

Forecasters say the flooding from the ocean about a mile inland to Calhoun Street is becoming life-threatening. No injuries have been reported yet.

The ocean level reached nearly 10 feet (3 meters) Monday, 4 feet (1.2 meters) above normal and the third highest reading in the past 80 years, only behind Hurricane Hugo and a 1940 hurricane.

Authorities say with the rain it could be several hours before the water recedes.

Several tornado warnings have also been issued around Charleston, but no major damage has been reported.


12:40 p.m.

Ocean water pushed onshore from Tropical Storm Irma is coming over the Battery in downtown Charleston at high tide.

Dozens of streets near the water in Charleston were flooded and water levels at the gauge downtown were as at 9.4 feet (2.9 meters) at high tide around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

That is nearly at the same level as Hurricane Matthew last October.

Forecasters say the ocean may rise a little more, but they don’t expect a surge anywhere near the 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) recorded when Hurricane Hugo came ashore just north of Charleston in 1989.

Street flooding isn’t unusual in Charleston, which also sees flooding during Nor’easters and other storms.

The next high tide is early Tuesday morning, when forecasters expect water levels from Irma to be much lower.


11:50 a.m.

The number of power outages caused by Tropical Storm Irma continues to climb in South Carolina.

Utilities report around 81,000 customers without power around noon on Monday. Most of them are customers of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas.

The utilities report about 21,000 power outages in Beaufort County and about 18,000 in Charleston County.

The rest of the outages are scattered across South Carolina as the winds from Irma slowly increase.


10:05 a.m.

Tropical Storm Irma has left about 34,000 customers without power in South Carolina.

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas report most of the outages Monday morning were in Beaufort and Charleston counties.

Winds and surge have increased along the South Carolina coast.

The National Weather Service says winds gusted to 72 mph (115 kph) at Folly Beach Pier about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of downtown Charleston.

The tidal gauge near downtown Charleston says water levels are running 2 feet (0.6 meters) above normal. The next high tide is just after noon Monday. Forecasters have warned the water could run up to 6 feet (1.2 meters) above normal.


9:45 a.m.

Firefighters on one of South Carolina’s largest barrier islands are now staying inside until the worst weather from Tropical Storm Irma passes.

Hilton Head Island said on Twitter that it suspended emergency operations at 9 a.m. Monday until the winds and storm surge subside. They say they will only go on calls if a supervisor allows them because conditions are too dangerous.

The island of 42,000 people is under an evacuation order. Forecasters warn wind gusts around 60 mph (95 kph) and storm surge of up to 6 feet (2 meters) are possible later Monday.

Similar storm surge and winds gusts are possible up to coast to Charleston too.


8:10 a.m.

A hurricane watch has been dropped for South Carolina as Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center continues a tropical storm warning Monday from near Georgetown into Florida. A storm surge warning is also in effect.

A storm surge of up to 6 feet is possible along the coast. Up to 6 inches of rain is possible in South Carolina. There are the possibilities of tornadoes.

The weather service in Charleston reports wind gusts as high as 51 mph (82 kph) at buoys near Edisto Beach and Fripp Island.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. reported about 12,000 customers without service Monday. The biggest problems were in Beaufort and Charleston counties.

Other utilities in the state report more than 2,000 customers without service Monday.


7:25 a.m.

Winds and rain from Hurricane Irma have moved into South Carolina and officials warn residents to be very careful throughout the day.

A hurricane watch is in effect Monday from Edisto Beach into Florida. A storm surge warning and a tropical storm warning are in effect from near Georgetown into Florida.

A flash flood warning is in effect along the southern coast of South Carolina, where more than 40,000 were ordered to evacuate barrier islands.

The storm surge could reach 6 feet, especially from late morning to mid-afternoon. Up to 6 inches of rain is also possible.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph are expected along the South Carolina coast. Forecasters say tornadoes are also possible.

South Carolina Electric & Gas reported more than 13,000 customers without service Monday.

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