NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Emergency Management updated the on the latest on Hurricane Florence at an 11:45 briefing Thursday morning.
County Commission Chair Woody White, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair and NHCEM director Steven Still briefed members of the local and national media about the last-minute preparations underway and the condition of the county's shelters.
As of the briefing, 515 people were in the five shelters open in New Hanover County, and more than 200 had been evacuated further inland from the shelters.
Still urged those who are sheltering in place to not go outside during the storm, even if the eye passes over the area.
He said emergency crews are standing by, but that during the height of the storm responses might be limited.
Cooperation on the part of the public is key, he said, adding: "We will get through this together."
Blair said Wrightsville Beach has effectively completed its evacuation and is fully staffed and ready for Florence to arrive.
"We feel like we're in pretty good shape," he said.
Saffo said he wanted to urge residents who are thinking about returning to the area to not only wait until the storm passes, but to consider the continued rising water that is expected after the storm subsides.
Still said he has received countless emails and calls from people around the country asking how they can help the Cape Fear region.
For those in Western Carolina who want to volunteer, Still said they can call 211 to be connected to United Way.
People outside of the Carolinas who want to volunteer during the recovery are asked to call (910) 798-3911 when the coast is clear.