"I encourage all Georgians in our coastal areas that could be impacted by this storm to evacuate the area as soon as possible", Deal said.
-After delaying his news conference for for almost two hours, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations of barrier island in Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties only. By far, the largest was vacation paradise Hilton Head Island, with 40,000 people, golf courses and resorts. Hunting Island, Knowls Island, Knowles Island and Tullifini Island.
"People don't like to leave their homes and businesses, and as little as they like leaving them, they want to get back to them immediately", McMaster said.
The governor previously said that many states helped New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, so this is a way to repay the favor.
"We are making our best judgment", based on the information available and input from professionals, McMaster said.
The Midlands could start feeling tropical storm force winds as early as Sunday night but on its current track, Irma's winds aren't likely to arrive in the area until Monday.
Irma will spin north-northwest over the entire length of Florida on Sunday night and Monday morning, then through Georgia by Monday night.
Homer Bryson, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said the agency plans to have 50 emergency shelters and 7,000 beds open by Saturday morning to house Irma evacuees. Georgetown County's official website, www.georgetowncountysc.org, has storm related information.
Therefore, there's no need to take protective action or alter any plans here in central Virginia, except for the kind of plans that you would normally change when it rains. County spokeswoman Paige Dukes said Friday local officials are now concerned they could see a "direct hit" from Irma. The county's Emergency Operations Center has not yet been fully activated, but officials are ready to do so if the situation calls for it. Updates will be posted to the EOC's Facebook page as well as the county's.
Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a Category 5 Hurricane and is still too far out to determine its exact path and effects to Levy County. The storm's maximum sustained winds - which howled at 185 miles per hour for almost two days earlier this week - have dipped to 150 miles per hour as of 8:00 a.m. EDT. "Anyone who has concerns about their safety can still, of course, voluntarily relocate further inland and/or to higher ground".
County offices along with city of Georgetown offices will be closed Monday except for essential personnel.
Andy Shain and Jamie Lovegrove with the Post and Courier contributed to his report.