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SC officials are urging residents to prepare for Hurricane Irma, which the National Hurricane Center says could strike the state early next week.

At least 22 cruises are operating on altered itineraries: Carnival Cruises has altered the itinerary for 13 cruises in order to "maintain a safe distance" from Hurricane Irma, a spokesperson said, and Royal Caribbean has diverted three ships to keep them "out of harm's way".

"It is too soon to know how North Carolina will exactly be impacted, but it is not too soon to get ready for it". Due to the size of Hurricane Irma, it is possible that while it's moving over Florida it will struggle to lose strength because of the heat from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Heavy rain will bring an increased risk for flash flooding and mudslides across the southern Appalachians as Irma's moisture surges into the mountains.

McMaster and his disaster readiness team on Sunday offered updates about Irma, which hit Florida but wasn't expected to directly cross SC.

The declarations allow both states the state to begin certain preparations for an emergency and use the National Guard if necessary.

Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall near Miami, Florida as a Category 4 storm before skirting up the coast and reaching the Carolinas Monday and Tuesday.

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"We have our folks, and then we are in touch with all the other Southern Co. operating units as well as organizations like the Southeastern Electric Exchange and the Mutual Assistance Network", Kraft said. "We can't stop the hurricane". Select personnel from SCEMD's Operations and Preparedness sections continue to monitor Hurricane Irma from the State Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia.

That approach was on display Wednesday when the governor declared a state of emergency in six coastal counties and signed orders enforcing bans on price gouging and easing restrictions for drivers ferrying food and other supplies across the region. If you feel unsafe in your home, you should get out. Says lines are hard to distinguish between telephone and power, and that you should not go near it. "If your cars battery has been dead better fix it".

Statewide, traffic returned to normal Sunday, after days of jammed interstates as Floridians and Georgians drove north, trying to escape Irma, Transportation Department chief Christy Hall said.

Tanner said "quite a few people", who have not evacuated the islands.

Strong wind gusts also pose a threat and could reach near 50 miles per hour.

The American Red Cross said it is expected to shelter up to 120,000 evacuees across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Duke officials said the company is checking equipment, supplies and inventory used for repairs and power restoration.