Gov. Roy Cooper is urging North Carolina residents to take all necessary precautions in advance of incoming Hurricane Florence.

He has issued mandatory evacuations for everyone on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and many coastal residents are already evacuating west. Florence is moving toward the North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia coastline slowly, with torrential rains and winds expected from Thursday through the weekend. 

In a Wednesday news release, Cooper warned of Florence’s danger—especially for people near the coast.

“North Carolina, my message is clear: Disaster is at the doorstep, and it’s coming in,” he said. “Expect this storm to batter our state for days.”

The latest reports have the hurricane hitting the coastline Thursday morning and slowly making its way southwest, though its path continues to change by the day. Even if Durham is not directly in the storm’s path, Florence's effects will extend all over the state. 

Floodplain experts from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety expect several days of strong rain and wind that could cause flooding, mudslides, road closures and power outages. They cautioned people to be ready for outages lasting days or possibly weeks. Cooper advised residents to “plan to be without power for days.”

“In short, every county and every person in North Carolina needs to stay alert and take this storm seriously,” Cooper said.

The press release even reminded people to make plans for their pets if they are evacuating.

Cooper declared a state of emergency Sept. 7, and today Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia also declared one, joining South Carolina and Virginia. 

The North Carolina state government is making preparations to prepare for the impacts of Florence. For people in need of shelter or storm help, the 2-1-1 call line is open 24/7. The price gouging law has been put into effect to prevent gas stations and grocery stores from hiking up prices during the disaster.

For statewide storm updates, North Carolina residents can download the Ready NC app.