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Florence nears Southeast coast: Tips to keep in mind if you’re evacuating

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Hurricane Florence has prompted mandatory evacuations in three states as the Category 4 storm barrels toward the Southeast coastline.

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In South Carolina, hospitals and nursing homes have begun the evacuation process and the National Guard and Red Cross have descended on the area, according to Gov. Henry McMaster.

Traffic on S.C. 544 just before US 501 is moving slowly as people begin to evacuate Horry County. Remember patience is key today! pic.twitter.com/rsClMcRFsk

— Trooper Sonny SCHP (@SCHP_Troop5) September 11, 2018

Some coastal areas of North Carolina and Virginia are also under mandatory evacuation orders.

Mandatory NC evacuations for #FlorenceNC

Counties – Beaufort, Dare, Pamlico, Tyrrell

Beaches – Atlantic, Indian, Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores, Ocracoke, Carolina, Kure, Wrightsville, Topsail, Currituck Outer Banks (visitors), Oak Island (visitors), Holden (visitors)

— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) September 11, 2018

This evacuation order is now in effect. Make sure you #KnowYourZone—visit https://t.co/euzv6uT25X today. https://t.co/zFmMQJJcVi

— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) September 11, 2018

Here are some tips to keep in mind during evacuations, according to the Department of Homeland Security:

— Identify several places you could go, like a friend’s home or a motel. Pick places in different directions so you have options.

PHOTO: Boarded up houses are seen ahead of Hurricane FlorenceÃ??s expected landfall, at Holden Beach, N.C., Sept. 10, 2018.Anna Driver/Reuters
Boarded up houses are seen ahead of Hurricane FlorenceÃ??s expected landfall, at Holden Beach, N.C., Sept. 10, 2018.

PHOTO: Jim Carter and Rob Quinn board up Lagerheads Tavern in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. as they prepare for Hurricane Florence, Sept. 10, 2018.Ken Blevins/The Star-News/AP
Jim Carter and Rob Quinn board up Lagerheads Tavern in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. as they prepare for Hurricane Florence, Sept. 10, 2018.

— If you have pets, remember that most public shelters allow only service animals.

— The FEMA app has a list of open shelters.

— Unplug electronics like TVs and small appliances.

— Follow recommended evacuation routes and don’t take shortcuts.

PHOTO: Home Depot employee Richard Balderson helps a customer load plywood into his truck as residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, Sept. 11, 2018, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Home Depot employee Richard Balderson helps a customer load plywood into his truck as residents prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Florence, Sept. 11, 2018, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

— Come up with a family re-unification plan in case you are separated.

— Take an emergency kit with you that includes water, food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, extra batteries and important family documents.

— Stay in contact with local officials.

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