Governor Deal issues State of Emergency across Georgia

Wilmington, just north of where Florence appeared headed for shore, grew empty and quiet on Wednesday.

North Florida is still outside the cone of forecast tracks for the center of the storm, but the size of Florence means impacts will extend to a large area of the Southeast. Tropical Storm Isaac was east of the Lesser Antilles and expected to pass south of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba, while Hurricane Helene was moving northward away from land.

"We will experience power outages, we will have infrastructure damaged, there will be homes damaged, and there will be debris on the roads", said Jeff Byard, an official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Wind speeds of unsafe Hurricane Florence decreased slightly Wednesday afternoon to 120 miles per hour according to the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.

"Hurricane and storm surge watches now blanket much of the SC and North Carolina coasts, and enormous rainfall totals could be in store for coastal areas as well as inland".

A hurricane watch has been placed in effect for Edisto Beach South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border, and a storm surge watch is in place for the same zone.

North Carolina officials evacuated long-term care facilities and hundreds of prisoners in vulnerable areas, and also closed state parks, museums and other attractions. In South Carolina and inland parts of North Carolina, 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall, with 20 inches possible in some areas.

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"Florence is intensifying", said North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper, adding: "This storm is strong, and its gettings stronger". But forecasters say there's an increased chance for tropical storm winds to reach Savannah.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered evacuations in counties along the state's coast, including Charleston.

A view of Hurricane Florence is shown churning in the Atlantic Ocean in a west, north-westerly direction heading for the eastern coastline of the United States, taken by cameras outside the International Space Station, September 12, 2018.

"The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence", Deal said in a news release.

"A state of emergency has been declared for all 159 counties in Georgia in advance of Hurricane Florence impacts".

"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. Current forecasts call for Florence to be at least a Category 3 storm when it arrives at the Carolinas.

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