Georgia state parks are welcoming Hurricane Florence evacuees and their pets, and offering some camping at no charge for them.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said, campsites and cottages were still available, but “dry camping” outside of normal camping areas will be available for no charge at any time during the emergency event.
According to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, the state's parks will not turn away any visitors seeking assistance.
All cabins will be allowed to accommodate domestic pets. Pet fees will be waived during the storm.
Parks that currently have overnight equestrian facilities will allow visitors traveling with horses to use portable corrals and high lines (with tree saver straps). A.H. Stephens State Park will utilize the event field as an overflow for their equestrian campground.
Click here to view current availability and park locations.
The Atlanta Motor Speedway has also opened its campgrounds to Southeasterners escaping Florence, one of many impromptu shelters that have sprung up across the region as a refuge for the evacuees.
About a half-dozen campers had arrived early Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, but racetrack officials expected many more once word got out that evacuees could camp there. Equipped with restrooms and showers, along with power, water, and sewers, the racetrack's campgrounds can accommodate about 5,000 people.
Opening up the racetrack's campgrounds is "just simply the thing to do," Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said Wednesday.
The Georgia speedway has hosted storm evacuees before, along with pets and, in one case, three cages of chickens, Clark said. Last year, as Hurricane Irma threatened Florida, the speedway hosted at least 100 evacuees.
Bristol Motor Speedway, near the Tennessee-Virginia line; Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina; and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama also are opening their campgrounds to people fleeing Hurricane Florence
Staff at Georgia's Visitor Information Centers provide accommodations and travel information by phone from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days per week. Call 1-800-VISIT-GA (847-4842).
Visit www.511ga.org or call 511 for free real-time travel information on road conditions and closures in Georgia.
Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and South Carolina in declaring a state of emergency.
More than 10 million people across the Southeast region are under hurricane watches or warnings , and hundreds of thousands have been ordered to evacuate.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to flee. More than 300,000 people had already left the South Carolina coast, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday.