As Tropical Storm Florence continues to make its way toward the East Coast, the governor of North Carolina issued a state of emergency. The storm, expected to regain hurricane strength, holds the promise of heavy rain, dangerous surf and rip currents.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday evening, calling on residents, specifically farmers, to prepare for the gathering storm.
“While it’s still too early to know the storm’s path, we know we have to be prepared,” Governor Cooper said in a press release. “During harvest, time is of the essence. Action today can avoid losses due to Florence.”
Cooper signed a transportation waiver that would allow farmers to harvest and transport their crops more quickly.
“The executive order will help gather and move crops in and through the state more easily and quickly in response to problems that could be caused by Tropical Storm Florence in North Carolina and along the East Coast,” according to the governor’s press release.
Cooper said that emergency management officials were working with local and federal officials to prepare for “possible impacts” from Florence.
“We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms,” Cooper said.
Along similar lines, South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division was advising coastal residents to start making contingency plans.
“The risk of other direct impacts associated with Florence along the U.S. East Coast next week has increased. However, there is still very large uncertainty in model forecasts of Florence’s track beyond day (five), making it too soon to determine the exact location, magnitude, and timing of these impacts,” hurricane specialist Robbie Berg wrote in a forecast advisory.
The National Hurricane Center said Florence’s maximum sustained winds Friday evening were at about 65 miles per hour. The storm was centered about 905 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 8 miles an hour.
Florence has weakened, but forecasters have been anticipating that favorable atmospheric conditions will see it regain strength as a major hurricane by the time it reaches the East Coast.
Meanwhile, two low pressure systems off the coast of Africa behind Florence also had high chances of developing into tropical storms, forecasters said.
“Since we are near the peak of hurricane season, this is a good time for everyone who lives in a hurricane-prone area to ensure they have their hurricane plan in place,” hurricane specialist David Zelinsky wrote in a forecast advisory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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