More than 1 million could evacuate coastal Carolinas because of Hurricane Florence, officials say

More people were expected at arrive at more emergency shelters as the latest forecasts showed Hurricane Florence taking aim at the Carolinas Wednesday morning.

The National Hurricane Center listed the massive storm moving west-northwest at 17 mph with winds about 130 mph, and expected to reach the coast Thursday night to Friday morning, The News & Observer reported.

The number of people told to evacuate in the Carolinas and Virginia has been estimated at more than 1 million, according to an NPR report.

In a press conference on Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said predations were made to accommodate 1 million people leaving the coast, a report by The State said.

McMaster ordered mandatory evacuation of coastal South Carolina counties on Tuesday.

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of the Outer Banks as Florence continued its push west as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday, The News & Observer reported.

As of Wednesday morning, 20 eastern North Carolina counties were under either a mandatory or voluntary evacuation, or some combination of the two, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

Several prominent beaches along North Carolina’s southern coast closest to where Florence was expected to pass as of Wednesday morning were under the mandatory evacuation order.

Those included Topsail and North Topsail beaches in Pender and Onslow counties; Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville beaches in New Hanover County; and “low lying areas and sub-standard housing” in Brunswick County.

Dare County issued an evacuation order for both visitors and residents of Hatteras Island on Monday, and added the rest of the county beginning Tuesday morning. Restrictions on entry begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dare County Emergency Management tweeted.

In Wake County, Knightdale High School is open as a shelter for Dare County residents, and shelters for New Hanover County residents opened Wednesday morning at Southeast Raleigh and Garner high schools, according to emergency officials.

The Knightdale High shelter is also open to Carteret County residents, according to television station WITN.

Pender County Emergency Management announced shelters at Topsail and Malpass Corners elementary schools, and at Cape Fear and Burgaw middle schools.

Brunswick County also opened its own shelters at three high schools on Tuesday.