Projections Monday showed the storm making landfall in the area of Wilmington, N.C., early Friday morning, but much of SC still could see a significant impact, including high winds, rain and flooding.
He estimated about 1 million residents would flee the coast of his state, following earlier orders for the evacuation of more than 50,000 people from the southern-most Outer Banks barrier islands of North Carolina.
Cooper and his counterparts in South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland all declared states of emergency.
Beaufort County officials said they were prepared for the worst, including a mandatory evacuation and lane reversals. Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system. The eastbound lanes of Interstate 26 heading into Charleston and USA 501 into Myrtle Beach will be reversed when the order takes effect, opening all lanes to evacuees.
Highways will be reversed so everyone can get out, 'no one in.' McMaster said he's expecting a million people will evacuate.
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Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall either late Thursday night or early Friday morning, first touching the United States somewhere between northern SC and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
"Traffic was backed up for about 9 miles (14 km) in places", said Paul Jones, a retiree who owns a home on the island. That would be the same day that Wake Forest hosts Boston College in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup, and two days before six power conference schools host nonconference games in the Carolinas and Virginia.
"We are now reviewing and implementing the emergency plan and closely monitoring the storm's strength and path", she said in a statement. Federal Government stands by, ready to assist 24/7.
SHAPIRO: Tell us about the kinds of preparations you're making right now in Wilmington.
The airlines affected by the waivers vary from city to city, but most are now in the path of Florence as meteorologists are tracking the category 4 storm. And with Hurricane Florence bearing down on North Carolina's coastline, the ferry may be getting a lot of use.
If this is a Category 4 storm, it will be the fourth in history to ever make landfall north of Georgia (Hugo was in 1989, Gracie was in 1959, and Hazel was in 1954).
The latest GFS model shows Florence staying just offshore, bringing massive amounts of rain and heavy winds to the coast. Paul is not expected to make landfall but Olivia could threaten Hawaii. "Florence has rapidly intensified into an extremely unsafe hurricane", Blake wrote Monday evening, predicting that the hurricane's top sustained winds would approach the 157 miles per hour (253 kph) threshold for a wost-case Category 5 scenario. Some 27 per cent of the deaths have come from rain-driven flooding, sometimes hundreds of miles inland.