Carolina coast prepares for the worst

Wilmington and all of South Carolina coast preps for Hurricane Matthew.

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Days ahead of Hurricane Matthew's arrival, evacuation plans and hurricane preparation is in the works across South Carolina and North Carolina's coast.

During a briefing Wednesday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley encouraged residents to evacuate.

"If you do not leave, you're putting a law enforcement officer's life on the line when they have to come back and get you," the governor said.

An estimated quarter of a million residents are being evacuating, not including tourists, and 350 buses will be picking up Charleston residents Wednesday and taking them to Greenville. The possibility of an estimated 1.1 million may be evacuated.

On Tuesday, Haley said the goal is to have everyone within 100 miles of the coast gone. She said storm surges of 5- to 7-feet are possible, and winds of 100 miles an hour are expected.

"If you can leave early, do that; the goal is to not leave all at once," Haley said. "As of right now, we're looking for Friday night into Saturday being pretty brutal."

Cars were already backing up Tuesday evening on the lane reversal of I-26 heading out of Charleston. Complete lane reversals are set to begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Residents can go to South Carolina's Emergency Management Division's website to find evacuation routes from their home address.

Charleston county and Beaufort county are scheduled to evacuate at 3 p.m. Wednesday while other counties will be evacuating throughout Thursday. Medical evacuations began Tuesday. (You can see the evacuation zones at the bottom of this article)

Nearly 4000 South Carolina officers will aid in the evacuation process, and the National Guard has been mobilized. The University of South Carolina announced that its Columbia campus will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with all classes cancelled as a result. 

Hurricane Matthew is expected to reach the South Carolina coast Friday. Winds of 100 miles an hour are possible along the South Carolina coast. Due to the expected high winds, a burn ban will go into effect on Wednesday morning.

FEMA has deployed officials to state emergency operations centers in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. FEMA has also pre-positioned commodities and resources to incident support bases in Albany, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with emergency officials to discuss the oncoming hurricane.

RELATED: Matthew's center shifts east and broadens

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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