State of emergency declared as Hurricane Florence takes aim at US Southeast

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence center in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 2:45 p.m. EDT

Forecasters expect the hurricane to undergo rapid intensification, becoming a major hurricane as it spins toward the East Coast. The new American model is not as wet but shows widespread amounts of 5 to 10 inches or more up the Interstate 95 corridor in North Carolina through Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

The storm has sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

That's because Florence will reach areas that have already experienced a lot of rain in recent weeks - and it won't take much for flash floods to start in these regions.

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic, about 750 miles (1,210 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters predicted it would become a unsafe Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

In an afternoon update, the National Hurricane Center said Florence was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Monday and would likely remain "an extremely dangerous" storm through Thursday, when it is forecast to approach the southeast coast.

The Ministry said the Emergency Broadcast station on 100.1fm is in operation, and official information will continue to be released by the Bermuda Weather Service, the Emergency Measures Organisation, the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Communications.

The US navy has ordered ships at its Hampton Roads, Virginia base to put to sea, saying "the forecasted destructive winds and tidal surge are too great to keep the ships in port".

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence third from right in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 3 p.m. EDT. At right off the coast of Africa is Tropical Storm Helene and second from right is Trop

Over the last 24 hours, Gov. Roy Cooper and Gov. Henry McMaster declared state of emergencies for their respective states ahead of Florence. The move will allow the state to use the National Guard for preparations and recovery if necessary.

He says emergency management officials are communicating and coordinating with other state agencies, local partners, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and authorities in surrounding states.

This is probably a good time to "Know Your Zone". He also urged residents to "review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now".

Because of the uncertainty of the storm's track, Northam encouraged all state residents to prepare for the storm. To the east of Florence, forecasters are also watching tropical storms Helene and Isaac. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported, the town of Mountain View on the Big Island recorded 51.53 inches of rain as a result of Lane, the third-highest total ever measured from a USA storm.

Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones.

Florence could sit over some part of the Mid-Atlantic for several days, similar to what Harvey did a year ago over eastern Texas. Extremely risky hurricane-force winds could batter coastal locations Thursday into Friday.

Risky waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners.

That formal request to Trump included this: "The potential storm surge, strong winds, and rainfall pose threats beyond state capability to manage including need for widespread search and rescue, rescue from swift water, long term sheltering operations, air operations in support of life saving and life sustaining missions, assistance with transportation of vulnerable populations, support for areas without power or drinking water, and other unforeseen consequences of the historic hurricane to which the state is now vulnerable".

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