CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina prepares for heavy rain, strong winds and surging surf from Hurricane Irma while expecting the storm’s center to miss most of the state.

Charleston County officials on Sunday opened a shelter for residents in low-lying areas. City parking decks opened free to provide safe storage for vehicles that could get flooded. Shelters also are open in Colleton, Jasper, Beaufort and Richland counties, with more on standby.

Seven barrier islands and part of an eighth are under evacuation orders, affecting about 42,000 people on Hilton Head Island.

While public services are disrupted, other signs point to fading worries.

The South Carolina State Museum in Columbia is offering under free general admission for children on Monday. A give-away of free sandbags in Georgetown County ended for lack of interest.

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