Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for several towns along the North Carolina coast as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Carolinas.
Mandatory Evacuations for Hatteras Island residents and visitors begin at 12 p.m. Monday, September 10, according to Dare County Emergency Management.
Around 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Governor Roy Cooper’s office released a full list of the coastal counties under both voluntary evacuations and mandatory evacuations. Those areas include:
Bertie County – voluntary evacuation of waterfront and low-lying areas effective Wednesday, Sept 12
Brunswick County – voluntary evacuation of unincorporated areas effective Tuesday, Sept 11; mandatory evacuation of low-lying and flood-prone areas, people in substandard or mobile homes effective Tuesday, Sept 11
Currituck County – mandatory evacuation for Currituck Outer Banks (Corolla and Carova) effective 7am Tuesday, Sept 11
Dare County – mandatory evacuation for Hatteras Island effective noon Monday, Sept 10; mandatory evacuation for entire county effective 7am Tuesday, Sept 11
Hyde County – mandatory evacuation for visitors to Ocracoke effective Monday, Sept. 10; mandatory evacuation for residents to Ocracoke effective Tuesday, Sept 11
New Hanover County – mandatory evacuation for UNCW
Onslow County – voluntary evacuation of unincorporated areas and Surf City effective Monday, Sept 10; mandatory evacuation of Topsail Beach effective Tuesday, Sept 11
“We face three critical threats from Florence: ocean surge along our coast, strong winds, and inland flooding from heavy rain,” Governor Cooper said. “Wherever you live in North Carolina, you need to get ready for this storm now and you need to evacuate if asked to.”
The current forecast for Hurricane Florence means the North Carolina coast could face a storm of unprecedented strength.
North Carolina has only been hit by one Category 4 hurricane since reliable records have been kept more than 150 years ago. Hurricane Hazel came ashore at the South Carolina-North Carolina state line with winds of 130 mph (209 kph) in 1954.
The state has only been hit by about a dozen Category 3 storms since 1850. The last was Hurricane Fran in 1996, which came ashore near Wilmington. South Carolina has been hit by three Category 4 storms: Hazel; Gracie, in 1959; and Hugo, in 1989.
Forecasters said Monday the storm to come ashore by late Thursday or early Friday. Some computer models show the storm making landfall near Wilmington, south of the Outer Banks. But it was still too early to predict an exact path for the storm.
Some computer models predicted Wilmington area south of the Outer Banks, but it was still too early to predict an exact path for the storm.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is encouraging its students to leave campus this week for a safer location.
The National Hurricane Center says it is still too early to predict the storms exact path with the storm hundreds of miles (kilometers) away, but people from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic are being urged to remain on guard for a possible direct hit later in the week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.