Florence pummels the Carolinas
Six nuclear power plants are within Hurricane Florence’s projected path, according to Duke Energy spokeswoman Mary Catherine Green.
Three of the nuclear plants are in South Carolina while the remaining three plants are in North Carolina, she told CNN. The plants are owned and operated by Duke Energy.
Duke’s Brunswick Nuclear Plant, 30 miles south of Wilmington, and the Sheron Harris Nuclear Plant near Raleigh are the two plants closest to Florence's projected landfall, Green said.
Duke officials are closely monitoring the storm’s progress and movements. Crews are already working to confirm the readiness of equipment and securing materials that are outside the plant walls, she said. The company is also in regular contact with local and state officials regarding storm conditions and plant preparedness.
All six plants were designed and engineered to withstand hurricane and tornado conditions, Green said.
The Charleston International Airport will close Wednesday night ahead of Hurricane Florence.
The runways will close at 11:59 p.m. ET, and could reopen at 7 a.m. ET Saturday.
"Rapidly changing conditions associated with the path of Hurricane Florence will affect general aviation and commercial air service operations at Charleston International Airport at least through Friday," the airport said in a statement.
The airport, which serves eight airlines, suggested checking with individual airlines ahead of that airport closure to ensure any afternoon flights are still operating.
Hurricane Florence is now a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
While the storm's peak winds have decreased slightly, the size of the wind field increased. Forecasters warned that Florence is still expected to be an "extremely dangerous major hurricane" when it nears the US tomorrow and Friday.
Here's the updated 2 p.m. forecast:
Inmates and staff at some North Carolina prisons are being evacuated ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to the North Carolina Joint Information Center.
The center would not identify which prison or prisons are being evacuated and would not say where those prisoners and staff are being evacuated to now, citing security reasons.
Every inmate who is being evacuated will be allowed to call a family member over the weekend, officials said.
Here's the statement from North Carolina Public Safety:
Authorities in North Carolina will be going door-to-door Wednesday night and retrieving contact information from coastal residents who opted to stay home during Hurricane Florence's landfall.
They will ask for contact information for next of kin during their rounds, which start at 8 p.m. ET, CNN's Kaylee Hartung reported.
Nickya Rivera of Carolina Beach said she prefers to stay at home during the storm rather than venture out and face the uncertainty of travel.
The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston began preparations for Hurricane Florence last week, when they spotted it on the weather radar.
"Our team has lots and lots of meetings to ensure everything goes smoothly in the event of severe weather," the aquarium said in a statement.
Since then, employees have been gathering supplies and moving sea turtles to high ground. A team also volunteered to stay with the animals and ride out the storm.
Here's what it takes to prepare for a major storm:
- Workers installed metal panels over the aquarium's glass windows, and gathered sandbags.
- They collected any loose items outside the aquarium.
- Water tanks and freshwater exhibits were topped off.
- The aquarium was stocked with first-aid kits and veterinary supplies.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to his office.
The emergency declaration extends to all of Georgia’s 159 counties, Deal’s office said.
Georgia is the fifth state to declare a state of emergency ahead of the storm, joining Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Updated forecasts show Hurricane Florence pausing later this week just off North Carolina's coast before turning left. No part of Georgia is currently under a hurricane watch or warning, according to the latest National Hurricane Center forecast, although the state is in a potential track area for later this week.
President Trump this morning urged people in Georgia to get ready for the storm.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this post incorrectly said only three other states had declared states of emergency.