Emerald Isle residents and businesses prepare for Hurricane Florence

EMERALD ISLE, NC (WITN) Emerald Isle is just one of the communities along the crystal coast that has started evacuating as folks begin to brace for the impact of Hurricane Florence.

Emerald Isle Mayor Eddie Barber issued the proclamation Monday evening, mandating that everyone evacuate no later than 8:00 pm Wednesday night. A curfew begins at 7:00 am Thursday morning

Frank Rush, Emerald Isle Town Manager says, "This is probably the most significant storm event of our lifetime and folks need to really take this serious and I think folks are."

Cara Watson, Emerald Isle resident says, "This isn't the first one, but this is the one we're leaving for. And just getting everything out of the house we possibly can. Anything that has sentimental value, something that means alot to the kids. Just getting it out in case this place is completely devastated."

Many businesses in the area have begun boarding up windows, and adjusting business hours so employees and customers could begin evacuating the area.

Katherine Jasso, Flipperz Family Bar & Grill Manager says, "We're actually going to be leaving the island, it's my first time actually leaving the island so I'm extremely nervous to leave it and what I'm going to come back to."

And while some folks do plan to stay, local officials urge them not to, and suggest they leave the town as soon as possible.

After the storm ends town officials will assess the conditions and make decisions based on public safety.

Town leaders say it is likely the bridge will be closed for multiple days, and perhaps longer depending on the impacts on the ground.