Gov. Northam issues mandatory evacuations for Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore ahead of Florence

RICHMOND - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has issued mandatory evacuations for Zone A, the lowest-lying areas of Coastal Virginia and the Eastern Shore, in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.

The orders go into effect 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Acknowledging that it's "too soon" to know the storm's exact path, Northam mentioned that all models show Virginia will see significant impact. He said he is making the announcement now to give residents, families, schools and businesses time to prepare.

"This is a serious storm, and it's going to affect the entire state of Virginia," he said. "And not just Virginia, but our neighbors to the south."

Gov. Northam declared a State of Emergency for the Commonwealth Saturday, one day after Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for North Carolina.

In response to the common question, "where should I evacuate to?" the governor advised residents to seek higher ground and inland.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Florence is a Category 4 hurricane and continues to grow in size and strength, according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center. It is expected to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through Thursday as it approaches the coast of the Carolinas. Earlier Monday, coastal communities in North Carolina ordered evacuations, and South Carolina ordered evacuations for its entire coastline.

Click here to find out which zone you live in. You can also call 211.

Click here to view a list of closings in the area. 

Click here to track Hurricane Florence