Gov. McMaster declares state of emergency ahead of storm's arrival


MIAMI (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency for the state today after weather forecasters stated Tropical Storm Florence is becoming a "better organized" weather system that will likely strengthen into a hurricane later this evening.

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. The storm is expected to approach the southeast U.S. Coast on Thursday.

Officials in North Carolina were already bracing for impact.

McMaster's declaration is to give the state time to prepare for the possible arrival of a hurricane. He emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land or when evacuations might be called.

Officials in North Carolina had already bracing for impact before McMaster made his announcement.

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 today in some areas including coastal Delaware and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said Tropical Storm Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 65 mph (100 kph). The storm was centered about 835 miles (1340 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).