Deal's emergency declaration cited potential "changes in the storm's trajectory" as well as an influx of evacuees coming to Georgia from the Carolinas.
Hurricane Florence churned across the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday packing winds of 130 miles per hour (215 kph) as an emergency management official warned the monster storm would deliver a "Mike Tyson punch" to the Carolina coast. It is poised to slow to a crawl there and then drift to the southwest, unloading disastrous amounts of rain.
Landfall is expected late Thursday or early Friday, and the National Hurricane Center fears the storm "will slow considerably or stall, leading to a prolonged and exceptionally heavy and risky rainfall event Friday-Sunday".
"It brings multiple threats, including a massive storm surge at the coast, as well as a potentially catastrophic inland flood situation". "But it's possible the eye of Hurricane Florence will take a slight right turn to the south on Friday as it makes its way over eastern North Carolina, which could send a lot more rain to the Charleston area, according to Neil Dixon of the National Weather Service in Charleston".
Melody Rawson evacuated her first-floor apartment in Myrtle Beach and arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, to camp for free with three other adults, her disabled son, two dogs and a pet bird.
"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm", National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
"The Charleston area now is expected to see at least 1-2 inches of rain over the next several days".
A tropical storm warning is in effect for north of Duck, NC, to the North Carolina/Virginia border.
Florence will bring large rainfall totals through Saturday in North Carolina, north SC and Virginia, causing catastrophic flash flooding.
It's unclear exactly how many people fled, but more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to clear out. Governors in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have issued mandatory evacuations and lane reversals.
The East Coast isn't the only area facing the brunt of a storm.
Hurricane Helene is moving north, where it's expected to become a tropical storm on Thursday.
With South Carolina's beach towns more in the bull's-eye because of the shifting forecast, OH vacationers Chris and Nicole Roland put off their departure from North Myrtle Beach to get the maximum amount of time on the sand.