Making way for Florence: coastal cities are disturbingly silent as 1.7 million people are ordered to flee

The streets and sidewalks of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (pictured on Wednesday) were largely deserted, apart from some news vans

The popular tourist town of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina should be full of late-summer tourists, but its streets and sidewalks are eerily quiet, and the ferris wheel in the amusement park by the sea lies motionless.

The same happened in many coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday morning, after 1.7 million people were ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Florence moved toward the southeast coast.

& # 39; Myrtle Beach is like a ghost town. We've only lived here for three years, but we have friends who have lived here all their lives and have never experienced or seen the city so creepy, "resident Rodger Maybey told Stuff.

The streets and sidewalks of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (pictured on Wednesday) were largely deserted, apart from some news vans

The streets and sidewalks of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (pictured on Wednesday) were largely deserted, apart from some news vans

Florence weakened to a category two hurricane on Wednesday night, but forecasters warned that it still posed the threat of 110 mph winds, a potentially deadly storm surge and torrential rains.

The center of Florence will approach the coasts of North Carolina and South on Thursday, then move near or over the coast of southern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina on Thursday night and Friday.

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm Wednesday, otherwise no emergency assistance would be provided.

Caroline Ciener spent the day boarding her parents' house. "We are addressing today," he told ABC11.

It's hot. It's not fun, but it's all we can do at this point. We are trying to remove everything from the bottom of the garage, as we are sure there will be water. "

Authorities predict that Florence could cause $ 170 billion in property damage, but many businesses are already suffering an economic blow from the loss of business.

Chapel Hill has been hit by the closure of the University of North Carolina, with its 55,600 employees and students ordered to evacuate and the first soccer game of the year canceled.

The cancellation of the game will only take away $ 8 million in potential economic benefit from local areas.

The same happened in many coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday morning, after the evacuation of 1.7 million people was ordered. In the photo: Myrtle Beach

The same happened in many coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday morning, after the evacuation of 1.7 million people was ordered. In the photo: Myrtle Beach

The same happened in many coastal areas of the Carolinas and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday morning, after the evacuation of 1.7 million people was ordered. In the photo: Myrtle Beach

Many of Charleston's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their South Carolinians peers also fleeing that day.

Many of Charleston's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their South Carolinians peers also fleeing that day.

Many of Charleston's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their South Carolinians peers also fleeing that day.

"With the campus closed and the football game canceled, there's a lot of anxiety in local businesses," local chamber of commerce CEO Aaron Nelson told CBS.

"UNC only has about six home games each season and losing one of them is really a big problem."

The historic port city of Charleston, South Carolina, suffered heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and officials warn that the impact of Florence is expected to be worse.

Many of the city's residents had left on Wednesday, joining 300,000 of their fellow South Carolinians also fleeing that day.

On Wednesday, mandatory evacuation orders were implemented for most of the South Carolina coast, in Edisto Beach and Charleston County to Horry County, and parts of North Carolina and Virginia.

But despite the orders, some residents stay.

Charleston (pictured Wednesday night) saw heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and authorities warn that Florence's impact is expected to be worse

Charleston (pictured Wednesday night) saw heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and authorities warn that Florence's impact is expected to be worse

Charleston (pictured Wednesday night) saw heavy flooding during tropical storm Irma last year, and authorities warn that Florence's impact is expected to be worse

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm on Wednesday (this boarded store is shown earlier in the day)

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm on Wednesday (this boarded store is shown earlier in the day)

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, all residents had to leave before 8 pm on Wednesday (this boarded store is shown earlier in the day)

Tim Terman and his wife live in Southport, North Carolina, and plan to get out of the storm.

& # 39; Once you leave, [it will be] It's hard to go back in to verify the damage, "he told CNN." My house is all my wife and I have, materially speaking, a lifetime of things. "

Several roads in the Carolinas became one-way streets so that everyone could escape in cars laden with possessions.

Other infrastructure has stopped, with the Charleston International Airport between several closed until at least Saturday, and Amtrak pulling trains going to Virginia and stops south of Washington, DC.

Rail services are expected to restart on Monday, weather permitting.

Businesses like this one in Wrightsville Beach (pictured on Wednesday) will receive a blow from the storm, both in property damage and in business losses

Businesses like this one in Wrightsville Beach (pictured on Wednesday) will receive a blow from the storm, both in property damage and in business losses

Businesses like this one in Wrightsville Beach (pictured on Wednesday) will receive a blow from the storm, both in property damage and in business losses

Many doors in Charleston were piled up with sandbags since the owners took precautions to try to prevent flood waters from entering.

Many doors in Charleston were piled up with sandbags since the owners took precautions to try to prevent flood waters from entering.

Many doors in Charleston were piled up with sandbags since the owners took precautions to try to prevent flood waters from entering.

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