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Southern Charm Stars Evacuate Charleston as 'Storm of a Lifetime' Hurricane Florence Nears

Rodolfo Martinez/Bravo

Posted on

The National Weather Service has called Hurricane Florence, the Category 4 hurricane currently hurling toward the Carolina cost, “the storm of a lifetime” — and the cast of Southern Charm is taking the storm seriously.

Austen Kroll, Kathryn Dennis, Craig Conover and Shep Rose are some of the millions of Americans who have evacuating their homes. The reality stars live in Charleston, where the Bravo show is set.

“I evacuated Charleston on Thursday. I try not to get in the way of Mother Nature, but I hope everyone in Florence’s path stays safe, especially the emergency personnel currently assisting in the area,” Conover tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

Kroll fled to North Carolina, deeper inland to his family home in Charlotte.

“I hope everyone and their loved ones keep an eye on the storm’s activities and stay safe,” he told PEOPLE in a statement. “South Carolina, and Charleston specifically, is no stranger to hurricane season. I’m hoping that the damage they are predicting from Hurricane Florence’s landfall is not as devastating as expected.”

Dennis told her fans on Instagram she was off to Nashville, Tennessee, while Rose tweeted he was flying out to Chicago on Wednesday — after going surfing in the morning. “I’m paddling out right now,” he tweeted before hitting the waves. “Chest high clean sets rolling through.”

PEOPLE reached out to reps for Cameran Eubanks, Craig Conover, Thomas Ravenel, Naomie Olindo, and Chelsea Meissner for comment, though none immediately responded.

RELATED VIDEO: Incredible Images of Hurricane Florence Captured From the International Space Station

At least one Southern Charm star is staying put: Patricia Altschul.

The socialite, who has recurred on the show since the first season along with her son Whitney Sudler-Smith, will be kicking back in a kaftan in her mansion — with her cat and five dogs in tow.

“Batten down the hatches,” she wrote on Twitter, showing video of the protections she’s done to her home. “House on lockdown…. shutters wired over plywood, generator inspected, pool water lowered, cars in parking garage, supplies bought, pets accounted for. Bring it on.”

She later shared video of “the hurricane supplies” she bought during a trip to Costco, including Bush’s baked beans, Spam, vienna sausages, goldfish crackers, nuts and KIND bars.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, according to USA Today. On Tuesday night, the hurricane’s winds had reached 140 mph.

Mandatory evacuations orders are urging more than 1 million people to leave parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Hurricane watches and warnings went out to 5.4 million people, according to the Associated Press.

“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast, and that’s saying a lot given the impacts we’ve seen from Hurricanes Diana, Hugo, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, and Matthew,” a National Weather Service spokesperson for Wilmington, North Carolina, said in the organization’s forecast. “I can’t emphasize enough the potential for unbelievable damage from wind, storm surge, and inland flooding with this storm.”

“This storm is … nothing like you’ve ever seen,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said, according to CNN. “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different. Don’t bet your life on riding out a monster.”

Added FEMA administrator Brock Long, according to 6ABC: “This has an opportunity of being a very devastating storm. The power will be off for weeks. You’re going to be displaced from your home in coastal areas. There will be flooding in the inland areas as well.”