South Carolina's governor made highways one-way so people could evacuate Hurricane Florence, warning it could bring more wind than Hurricane Hugo and more water than Hurricane Matthew

  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mandatory evacuation ahead of Hurricane Florence, effective noon Tuesday, of citizens along the state’s coast.
  • McMaster said the state would reverse lanes on four main roads to guide traffic away from the coast and assist as many as 1 million people in evacuating.
  • Florence could bring more wind than Hurricane Hugo and more water than Hurricane Matthew, McMaster warned.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mandatory evacuation Monday of citizens along the state’s coast as Hurricane Florence surges toward landfall.

He said the evacuation was effective Tuesday at noon for residents of eight counties along the coast, and the state would reverse lanes on four main roads to guide traffic away from the coast and assist the mass exodus.

As many as 1 million people could leave the coast, the governor said, and urged coastal residents, even those not in immediate danger, to evacuate immediately.

“Get prepared and move,” McMaster said. “Don’t take a chance. This is not the time to take a chance.”

‘We’re going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind’

Even though North Carolina is expected to get the brunt of the storm, South Carolina newspaper The State reported, McMaster said in a Sunday press conference that citizens should prepare for the potentially devastating effects in the state from Florence’s strength.

“Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina,” McMaster said. “Whatever happens, we’re going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind, even if the hurricane goes farther north.”

He said Florence could have winds like Hurricane Hugo and water like Hurricane Matthew.

Hugo hit Charleston, South Carolina as a Category 4 storm in 1989, with maximum winds of 140 mph and 20-foot storm tides in some areas. Forty-nine people died, and almost 700,000 people were without power for three weeks.

In 2016, Matthew devastated Haiti and the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane. By the time it reached the Carolinas, Matthew was a Category 1 hurricane, but its 4-to-6-foot storm surge and up to 18 inches of rain caused widespread flooding that cost billions in damage.

Where are the evacuations

McMaster had previously issued a mandatory medical evacuation of 177 hospitals and medical facilities in the same coastal counties.

South Carolina has provided a 2018 Hurricane Guide to detail the routes, and information on shelters are available online at scemd.org. Residents can find their evacuation zones in the interactive map below:

Hurricane Florence had sustained winds of 130 mph Tuesday morning, and is expected to gain strength as it gets closer to the East Coast. The National Hurricane Center’s latest prediction, published 8 a.m. Tuesday, indicates that the eye of the storm is expected to hit the coast about 90 miles north of the South Carolina border early Friday.

Once on land, it is expected to remain mostly over the Carolinas and Virginia, where forecasters are predicting it could dump 15 to 20 inches of rain, with isolated areas seeing up to 30 inches.

Read our full coverage on Hurricane Florence:

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