MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — Tropical Storm Florence is becoming a "better organized" weather system that will likely strengthen into a hurricane late Saturday, weather forecasters said.
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.
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.
"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, the National Weather Service said.
At 11 a.m. EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 65 mph. The storm was centered about 835 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph.