Gov. Henry McMaster says he's preparing the state for winds as powerful as Hurricane Hugo, which plowed inland almost 30 years ago and caused devastating damage.
"We want to reiterate that yes, lots of the guidance is taking it toward northeast SC but we still need to be on guard with a turn more toward the Charleston area looking less likely at this point", Bright said late Monday morning. 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.
In North Carolina, the first mandatory evacuation order was issued at noon, and Gov. Roy Cooper expects more later Monday and Tuesday.
The reversal on I-26 will begin at the interchange of I-26 and I-526 in Charleston and continue west until the I-26 crossover to I-77, just outside Columbia in Lexington County. "A decision on lane reversals in Beaufort County will be made on Tuesday, McMaster said".
Coastal areas of North Carolina began evacuating on Monday, with a second wave at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Several said a decision on whether to cancel classes later this week could be made late Monday or Tuesday.
"This is a real hurricane we have coming", he said.
One mother from Asheboro, North Carolina, was told to leave the hotel where she had been vacationing with family.
There is a mandatory medical evacuation in place for hospitals, said Rep. Tim McGinnis in a Facebook post.
The governors of North and South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia declared states of emergency ahead of the approaching storm.
About 1 million people have been ordered to flee the entire SC coast beginning at noon on Tuesday.
Forecasters said the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a unsafe storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
"Florence is expected to be an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday (Sept. 13)", said officials.
This happened previous year, too, when Hurricane Jose and Tropical Storms Maria and Lee were churning at the same time.
"As a result, people from southeastern Virginia to southern New Jersey could have damaging winds and significant coastal flooding, even if Florence hovers or moves ashore in North Carolina". Also included in Southwest's relaxed rebooking policy were the Washington-area's busy Reagan National and Dulles airports. Cooper sent a letter Monday morning to President Donald Trump with a request.
And an unusual combination of other weather systems that are likely to stall Florence when it hits the Carolinas, allowing it to sit for days and dump huge amounts of rain. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., head of the National Guard. People rushed to get emergency kits ready, map out escape routes, fill sandbags and secure their homes.
The Transportation Department also has more than 3,000 employees ready to deploy, and more than 440 additional state law enforcement officers have been moved to the coast.
"I know they've been constantly meeting about the hurricane", Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said.
All evacuation routes and zones are detailed in the 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide.
A supervisor at the North Carolina emergency management office was welcoming workers back and telling them to prepare for a long week.
McMaster said folks should prepare for a lot of flooding in the Pee Dee area. "Don't take a chance".