Tropical Storm Florence prompts North Carolina State of Emergency

Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength later today, but neither are considered potential threats. "A period of rapid strengthening (is expected) within the next 12-36 hours", NOAA says.

At present, forecasters said that the storm is located 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, and it is forecast to move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda on September 11 and September 12 before getting close to the southeastern US coastline.

Florence strengthened to Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning as the storm charted an uncertain path toward the Unites States' East Coast.

“Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast.

Florence is still sitting more than 1000 miles off the east coast of the United States, but it's still our main focus in the tropics.

"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", forecaster David Zelinsky said.

Virginia joined North and SC in declaring a state of emergency ahead of the storm, which is expected to be a major hurricane.

Cooper said state emergency management officials are working with local and federal agencies to prepare North Carolina for possible impacts from Florence.

North Carolina declared a state of emergency on Friday. The National Weather Service in Morehead City predicts that Florence will be renamed a hurricane on Sunday.

The Miami-based center says Florence is gaining strength and is expected to become a major hurricane Monday and keep that status as a powerful and extremely risky storm until Thursday.

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a State of Emergency ahead of what could be a week of watch-and-see for those living North Carolina and Virginia.

Almost all of the North Carolina and SC coasts are included in the cone of uncertainty for the storm and the latest model Saturday night showed the storm making landfall in Wilmington.

Maximum sustained winds are near 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) with higher gusts.

All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States.

Tropical Storm Helene is just off the African coast and tropical storm warnings have been issued for the southern Cabo Verde Islands.

As of 11 PM Saturday, Florence is a strong tropical storm about 800 miles southeast of Bermuda and 1500 miles from Hampton Roads.

Forecasters said it is now around 1,500 miles east of the Windward Islands and is carrying winds of 65mph (100kph).