Virginia Beach City Manager encourages some residents to evacuate during Hurricane Florence

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - City Manager Dave Hansen is encouraging people who live in parts of the southern section of the city to evacuate during Hurricane Florence.

Hansen says he'll sign an evacuation order for Back Bay, Sandbridge and around the southern watershed. He says he can't force people to evacuate but hopes they heed his warnings.

Hurricane Florence could lead to lots of flooding in these areas because the storm is coming from the south. "That's a choice people make," Hansen said. "I can't make everybody evacuate. I can recommend that they evacuate."

Hansen says the city will begin opening shelters on Thursday morning with the potential to expand to be able to house 15,000 people.

If you are going to pack up and head to a shelter, city leaders say you should bring bedding, personal items and medications to last three to five days. The goal is to give people safe options.

"Maybe I don't have to evacuate. Maybe I have to go find a friend that lives in higher ground. Maybe I have to go and make plans to move to one of the city shelters," Hansen said of the options.

In addition to preparing shelters, the public works department is checking storm drains and pumping down lakes to absorb more water ahead of the Hurricane.

The city says its Emergency Operations Center will be functional beginning Tuesday.

Click here to track Hurricane Florence