RALEIGH (WFMY) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents to be careful as the outer bands of Hurricane Florence began to hit the coast on Thursday afternoon.

“The worst of the storm is not yet here, but these are the early warnings of what’s to come,” he said. “To anyone still unwilling to take this storm seriously. Let me be clear, you need to get yourself to a safe place now and stay there.”

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Cooper said 126 shelters are open across the state, with more than 12,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday evening. Cooper said there will be more shelters opening as needed and “as we speak.” He estimated around 1 million people have evacuated.

He went on to explain as the storm moves inland, and the rivers begin to rise, many people inland will likely need to evacuate as well.

“Remember, rivers continue flooding, even when the rain stops,” he said. “Our flooding issue is only going to get worse.”

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He reminded residents to only use 911 for emergencies, and 211 if you are in need of shelter or food.

Cooper also wanted to remind folks to not drive on roads covered by water, and to stay away from doors and windows during the worst of the storm.

In addition, Cooper advised to never use generators indoors, stay in secure spaces and low levels of your home to avoid being hit by falling trees, and use a radio or weather device to follow what’s happening.

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