Eight counties along the coast would begin evacuating as of noon on Tuesday, McMaster said at a press briefing on Monday.
McMaster said he would reverse lanes on four main roads to facilitate the evacuation. As many as a million people could leave the coast because of the order, the governor said.
"We know the evacuation order I'm issuing will be inconvenient," McMaster said. "But we're not going to gamble with the lives of the people of
As of noon Tuesday, lanes will reverse on
Highways 278 and 21 in
State offices and schools will also close in 26 counties in the lower part of the state on Tuesday, including
Florence would create more wind than Hugo and more water than Matthew, McMaster warned.
Projections on Monday show the storm making landfall in the area of
State lawmakers were saying the governor would order an evacuation beginning Tuesday. State offices and schools would also be closed in the affected counties, lawmakers said.
Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane mid-day Monday, with sustained winds of 130 mph.
"The hurricane's wind field is expected to grow with time as it approaches the coast of the Carolinas," said
Quagliariello emphasized that the impacts of a hurricane, including tropical storm-force winds, can extend more than 100 miles from the storm's center. And hurricane winds can extend more than 50 miles from the center, putting much of the state well inland at risk for destructive winds.
Life-threatening storm surges are also likely along portions of the coastline, in addition to high surf and "deadly" rip current risk, which Quagliariello said will continue through the week.
"Once Florence moves inland, it is expected to weaken and move very slowly, resulting in a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event along and north of the track," he said. "This could result in significant river flooding across portions of the state into next week."
On Saturday, McMaster formally declared a state of emergency, allowing officials to put hurricane preparations into effect and begin coordinating resources.
The state has submitted a request to President
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