WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Gov. Jack Markell is ordering businesses located in the coastal area covered by a mandatory evacuation order to close.

Businesses in the area, which is expected to be flooded by rains and wind from Hurricane Sandy, must close by 6 p.m. Sunday.

The governor earlier ordered the 50,000 residents along the coast to leave by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Markell says the storm is severe and the potential damage significant. He says “it is critical that residents in areas of greatest risk leave those areas now, before the storm’s full force is felt and lives are put at greater risk.”

There are exemptions for emergency responders, medical providers, people making food and fuel deliveries, members of the media, utility workers and others contributing to the health and safety of Delaware residents.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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