- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on Irma’s effects in South Carolina (all times local):

4 p.m.

Heavy traffic was being reported on interstates heading south in South Carolina as evacuees from Irma tried to return home.

The state Department of Transportation’s online traffic site reported stop and go traffic for 90 miles on Interstate 95 from north of the Interstate 26 exit to the Georgia state line.

Heavy traffic was also reported on I-26 out of Columbia where it was taking more than an hour to drive 40 miles. There were occasional slow downs on Interstate 77 between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Columbia.

Extra state troopers are out on the congested highways to make sure traffic runs as smoothly as possible.


3:05 p.m.

South Carolina’s southern coastal counties continue to clean up after a strong blow from a hurricane that passed a long way away.

Charleston sent out 200 city employees Tuesday to clean up after the 4-foot surge from then-Hurricane Irma sent water over the Battery and a mile into the city. The surge was the third highest in the city’s history.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says there were no serious injuries. City offices were closed Tuesday to help with the cleanup, but he expects things to get back to normal Wednesday.

In Beaufort County, Sheriff P.J. Tanner says deputies and other workers were helping the people ordered to evacuate off of Hilton Head Island and three other barrier islands return to their homes.

Tanner says Beaufort County is fortunate to have no serious injuries or lives lost.


2:40 p.m.

Crews continue to restore electricity to people in South Carolina who lost power during Irma.

About 138,000 customers in the state did not have power Tuesday afternoon. That was well down from the peak of around 250,000 outages late Monday as Irma’s winds moved across the state.

Duke Energy has the most outages and they are concentrated in the Upstate as Irma’s winds reached there last.

About 22,000 customers don’t have electricity in both Anderson and Greenville counties, while power is out for 18,000 customers in Pickens County and 13,000 in Oconee County.

The news is better along the coast. Charleston County is down to about 10,000 power outages, while Beaufort County reports around 7,200 outages.


1:30 p.m.

Authorities say Hurricane Irma has caused a fourth death in South Carolina.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson says a city employee, Arthur Strudwick, died after a single-vehicle crash during storms Monday night. Wilson says Strudwick had been on his way to help with a downed tree when he crashed.

Wilson says he was pronounced dead at a hospital. He worked with the Forestry and Beautification Division of the city’s Public Works Department.

Three other deaths in South Carolina have been attributed to the storm.


12:45 p.m.

A third death in South Carolina has been attributed to Hurricane Irma.

Sumter County Coroner Robert Baker Jr. says 54-year-old William McBride was pronounced dead Tuesday of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Baker says McBride had been running a generator inside his mobile home for at least several hours, with only a single window cracked for ventilation.

Baker says power was knocked out in some parts of the county at around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Baker says McBride’s sons found him Tuesday morning and called authorities.


12:05 p.m.

South Carolina officials say a man was killed in a wreck on a wet and windy interstate as Irma moved past.

Public Safety Director Leroy Smith said 21-year-old Zhen Tain died in the crash on Interstate 77 south of Columbia around 3:15 p.m. Monday.

Troopers say Tain crashed into another car and his Ford Mustang flipped, trapping him inside. Authorities say the second driver was taken to the hospital. Her condition was not known.

Troopers say the wreck is still under investigation.

The National Weather Service says there was heavy rain in Columbia with wind gusts around 40 mph when the wreck happened.

Tain is the second person killed in South Carolina during Irma. Authorities say a man was hit by a falling limb while clearing debris near his home Monday afternoon in Calhoun Falls.

Smith says Tain was driving too fast for conditions.


11:35 a.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster says he is looking forward to getting South Carolina back to normal after Irma moved past.

McMaster said Tuesday morning the state appeared to survive the storm without significant damage.

Officials say just under 200,000 customers remain without power, most of them in northern South Carolina.

Authorities say about 160 roads are closed in 22 counties, but the only serious damage is to the causeway that carries U.S. Highway 21 from Beaufort to the barrier islands.

Charleston officials are asking people to stay away from the Battery downtown as crews clean up from 4 feet of storm surge.

McMaster did say emergency officials are watching Hurricane Jose, which forecasters say will moving due north about 500 miles (800 kilometers) offshore of Charleston on Sunday.


10:50 a.m.

South Carolina road officials say they have had to close a lane of southbound Interstate 95 just as evacuees from Irma begin to return home.

The Department of Transportation said Tuesday that Irma’s winds and rains likely helped damage a culvert on I-95 in Dillon County near mile marker 186 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Florence.

Officials say a lane needs to be closed so crews can put up a barrier wall so they can repair the culvert without further disrupting traffic.

Online traffic maps already showed a 10-mile (16-kilometer) backup reaching nearly into North Carolina.

The DOT says the lane should be reopened Wednesday.


10:05 a.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says residents of seven islands and a beach evacuated because of Hurricane Irma can return home.

McMaster said on Twitter he ended the evacuation order at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. The order covered barrier islands in Beaufort and Jasper counties and Edisto Beach in Colleton County.

By far the biggest place evacuated was Hilton Head Island, with 42,000 people. The populations of the other islands ranged from several hundred to a few dozen.

Irma brought several feet of storm surge over the islands Monday, even though the center passed some 200 miles to the southwest.


7:30 a.m.

Tropical Storm Irma no longer exists but she left plenty of problems in South Carolina.

More than 220,000 customers were without electricity early Tuesday. Duke Energy reported the biggest problems with 100,000 customers without service. The biggest problems were in Anderson and Greenville counties.

The South Carolina Electric Cooperatives report that about 63,000 customers are without service. The biggest problems are in Oconee and Charleston counties.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. had 58,000 customers without service early Tuesday. The major problems were in Charleston and Beaufort counties.

Many schools in South Carolina were closed or were opening on a delayed schedule Tuesday.

At least one person died. Fifty-seven-year-old Charles Saxon was killed Monday afternoon by a tree limb while clearing debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls.



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