WEST COLUMBIA — Evacuation orders for three counties along South Carolina's southern coastline are being lifted Thursday afternoon, allowing some residents who fled Hurricane Dorian to return.
Residents of Beaufort, Colleton and Jasper counties only can return beginning at 3 p.m., Gov. Henry McMaster said as the hurricane continued to skirt South Carolina's shores.
Local authorities are in charge of which roads will be open for travel, he said.
"They will say when and where you can go and what is safe and what is not," the governor said.
Evacuation orders for the rest of the coastline remain. The storm's eye was passing offshore of Bulls Bay in northern Charleston County around 2 p.m.
To his relief, McMaster said, the Charleston region escaped the destructive flooding that would have come with the once-predicted storm surge of over 10 feet.
"We were looking for a lot more water in Charleston but because the high tide and wind and rain did not happen at the same time, we were spared several feet of water," he said.
Two tornadoes have been confirmed in North Myrtle Beach and Little River, damaging homes, but the extent of the damage is not yet known, since tropical force winds continue to batter that area.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.