Army officer who just moved from JBLM describes conditions in N.C. as hurricane approaches

SEATTLE -- More than 1 million people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are facing a choice -- stay home and take their chances with Hurricane Florence or drive inland.

The National Weather Service says Florence will bring a life-threatening storm surge and rainfall. And despite mandatory evacuations orders, many people have decided to stay.

"This is something we haven't seen in our lifetime here,” says James Redick, with Norfolk Emergency Management.

People in South Carolina are preparing as best they can.  And so are people in North Carolina.

“Now the sky is completely dark. There’s black clouds and you can tell it’s starting to come in,” says Army Capt. Mathew Miller, who spoke to Q13 News by phone Tuesday from Fort Bragg, N.C., just an hour South of Raleigh. He recently moved there from JBLM.

“All of yesterday and today people are just making a run to the grocery stores. I noticed on the way home, our local gas station -- all the pumps are covered up and they are empty,” says Miller.

While strong storms have hit the area before, some say Hurricane Florence looks to be in a class of its own.

As the storm moves closer, people are preparing for heavy rain, flooding and strong winds.

Bloodworks Northwest sent an emergency shipment of blood to hospitals in North Carolina and Virginia to help them prepare. As a result, they say inventory levels are dangerously low and could affect the nearly 100 local hospitals that count on Bloodworks supply.  They’re asking for people to consider donating locally.