Deal's emergency declaration cited potential "changes in the storm's trajectory" as well as an influx of evacuees coming to Georgia from the Carolinas.
Forecasters said Wednesday that Florence's wind field is expanding, making it a large, stable hurricane with a clearly defined eye at its center. Florence was expected to bring very heavy storm surge, rain and flooding to the entire region on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Florence is now a Category 4 storm, with winds of at least 130 miles per hour.
The 8 a.m. forecast on Hurricane Florence reinforces projections that the storm's path will shift slightly to the southeast as it closes in on the Carolinas.More news: California Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2045
The monster storm showed signs of slowing down as it inched closer to the US, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A long stretch of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard remained vulnerable to hurricane and tropical storm conditions, from Georgia north through the Carolinas into Virginia.
Officials in several states have declared states of emergency, including Virginia and Maryland, where coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.
North Carolina officials evacuated long-term care facilities and hundreds of prisoners in vulnerable areas, and also closed state parks, museums and other attractions.
A steady stream of vehicles full of people and belongings flowed inland Tuesday, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tried to convince everyone to flee.More news: NASA Releases Footage Of Hurricane Florence And Her 'Mike Tyson Punch'
"We are monitoring the track of the storm and so far the information I am getting is Athens can expect gusty winds and a moderate amount of rain", Burgess said.
SC ordered the mandatory evacuation of one million coastal residents while North Carolina ordered an evacuation of the Outer Banks, barrier islands that are a popular tourist destination.
GasBuddy.com has created a "fuel-availability" tracking system for the coastal states predicted to feel the impact of Hurricane Florence in the next four days.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in North and SC, thus facilitating federal aid to those states. Everyone in the Carolinas should continue to finalize their preparations for the storm Wednesday.
More than 1 million people have been ordered to evacuate the coastlines of the Carolinas and Virginia.More news: Ray Allen pays tribute to Reggie Miller in Hall of Fame speech
"This is a very fluid situation, especially now that new model runs are shifting the course of the storm south after landfall, potentially increasing its impact on SC and Georgia", St. Mary's Hospital spokesman Mark Ralston said.
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