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Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington preparing for the worst

Mandatory evacuations for Wrightsville Beach, N.C. go into effect at 8 p.m.

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. – Thousands of people in North Carolina are being told they must leave their homes because of Hurricane Florence. 

As it moves closer to the coast, some people are packing their bags and heading west.

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, people have until 8 p.m. Wednesday to evacuate. 

On Tuesday, the only people who were allowed to cross the bridge into Wrightsville Beach were residents and members of the media.

Many didn't realize that a mandatory evacuation had been issued for Wednesday night until they heard police driving through the streets at 8 a.m. telling people over a loudspeaker to evacuate.

"I'm concerned. Maybe not too worried, but what are you going to do about Mother Nature? Whatever happens, you got to deal with it so just hope for the best. That's it," said Jackie Hooks who evacuated Tuesday.

In nearby downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, which is usually packed with people this time of year, it's a ghost town.

Workers at businesses lining the Cape Fear River are boarding up their doors and windows, laying down sandbags and hoping for the best. 

"In the past, we've had some storms. We've never gone to the point of boarding up the windows. I think with this one, based on the fact that they really don't know if it's coming in at 115 (mph) or coming in at 140 (mph), I think it's just one of those things that you take the uncertainty out of it and you go to the extra measures to be precautions and come back and hopefully the assets are still here," said Todd Barber, the co-owner of Duck and Dive Pub.

Businesses all across Wilmington are in full preparation mode. 

Matthews Motors is using its cars to hopefully shield the business from Hurricane Florence's devastation.

"We stacked about three different layers, just kind of like to help with the windows, keep them safe, break up the wind channels so the building doesn't take a direct hit from 150 mph winds," said Matthews Motors service manager Mark Yandell.

"I've seen them pull together for smaller things. I think that if we were in a major catastrophe, there would be no question in my mind that we would all pull together and help each other out," said Barber.