Tropical Storm Florence is becoming a "better organized" weather system that will likely strengthen into a hurricane late Saturday, weather forecasters say. The National Hurricane Center said Saturday the storm was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Tuesday as it passes between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, per the AP. The storm is expected to approach the southeast US Coast on Thursday. Officials in North Carolina were already bracing for impact. In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday to give his state time to prepare for the possible arrival of a hurricane. McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.
The US Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port as Tropical Storm Florence approaches the East Coast. The US Fleet Forces Command says the ships will get ready in anticipation of getting underway Monday to avoid storm damage. On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster. "We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms," Cooper said. Swells generated by Florence could cause dangerous rip currents and coastal flooding Saturday in areas including coastal Delaware and New Jersey, per the National Weather Service.
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