With Hurricane Florence spinning through the Atlantic Ocean and threatening to slam into SC later this week, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations for the state's entire coastline beginning at noon Tuesday.
Florence has strengthened to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said at noon Monday, with Beaufort County just south of the storm's forecasted path.
Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.
"Life-threatening freshwater flooding is likely from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event, which may extend inland over the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic for hundreds of miles as Florence is expected to slow down as it approaches the coast and moves inland", the NHC warned.
"An evacuation order for visitors and residents on Hatteras Island is in effect Monday while those in other parts of Dare County will be under an evacuation order beginning Tuesday".
A mandatory evacuation order takes effect Tuesday at noon in eight counties along South Carolina's 187-mile coastline.
Like Haley, McMaster also closed schools and government offices across the Midlands region of SC in order to allow roadways to accommodate the exodus from the coast.
We are in communication with the National Weather Service, state and local authorities, the Southeastern Conference, Marshall University and schools that other programs that we compete against this week regarding potential weather issues. Hurricane Florence is large in size.
The possibility exists that the storm could be a Category 5, and that it will make North Carolina landfall as only its second Category 4 storm.
More than a million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been told to leave their homes.
A supervisor at the North Carolina emergency management office was welcoming workers back and telling them to prepare for a long week.
A Category 5 storm means it has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more. He said that the hurricane could only be captured on a super-wide lens, even from 400 kilometres up.
The storm's path put a corridor of more than 10 million people in the crosshairs Wednesday as it closed in on the Carolinas, uncertainty over its projected path spreading worry across a widening swath of the Southeast.
John McGowan, a resident of a town just west of Wilmington, said Tuesday he planned on staying through the storm - but filled his vehicle with gas in case he changes his mind.
Forecasters are also tracking several other hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency on Friday in anticipation of the hurricane. That's prompted criticism from some on social media who've said they faced change fees and fare differences as they attempted to change flights to deal with the storm.
On Monday Florence had strengthened into a category 4 hurricane.
"There is an increasing risk of coastal storm surge flooding and freshwater flooding from heavy prolonged rain when the hurricane approaches the US", said a NOAA tweet.