Tropical Storm Florence expected to strengthen into hurricane soon

As Tropical Storm Florence moved closer to the East Coast, experts said that they expected the storm to grow better organized and strengthen into a hurricane by the end of the day on Saturday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Maximum winds currently remain near 65 mph and extend outward up to 140 miles from the center of the storm, but those conditions are expected to grow worse as the storm forms into a major hurricane by Tuesday, according to the NOAA's National Hurricane Center. It is currently moving west at 7 mph and is expected to maintain that pace over the next several days before hitting the coast on Thursday or later.

RELATED: These are the 8 best foods to buy in preparation of a storm:

8 best foods to buy before a storm
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8 best foods to buy before a storm

1. Water 

With your pipes at risk of freezing, it's wise to have bottles or gallons of water on hand. 

2. Peanut butter

Peanut butter has a long shelf-life, and is packed with protein. Pair it with other essentials on the list, like bread and crackers. 

3. Canned soup

Even if your power is down, canned soup can be eaten directly from the can!

4. Bread or baking mix

Bread is affordable and filling. However, since bread is usually in high-demand before bad weather, consider buying baking mix and making your own carb-filled goods! 

5. Crackers

Did the grocery store run out of bread? Crackers are perfect for munching. Plus, add peanut butter and honey for a sweet and salty snack. 

6. Canned tuna

Tuna is a great, protein-filled option that can be safely eaten without being cooked. 

7. Honey

Honey has a long shelf-life -- and tastes great on almost everything. 

8. Granola bars and protein bars

These snacks are packed with fiber and protein, and can stay on your shelf for an extended period of time. 


Storm swells created by Florence were already affecting Bermuda on Saturday and were expected to reach portions of the East Coast over the weekend, potentially creating life-threatening surf and rip currents, the NOAA reported.

But as the storm approaches, it is not yet clear where it may make landfall in the United States and who might be affected.


Nevertheless, multiple East Coast governors are warning their states to prepare for the storm as if it's headed their way.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, declared a state of emergency as reports came in that Florence was expected to strengthen into a hurricane. He warned residents of the state to prepare their homes and property immediately for the incoming storm as it appeared unpredictable and unusual compared to past storms, but maintained a steady path toward South Carolina's coast.

"We do not know when it will change or if it will change, but we are preparing for the worst and, of course, hoping for the best," McMaster said at a press conference on Saturday. "But being prepared is always the best strategy."

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, also declared a state of emergency for his state, but his larger concern was for farmers. The governor signed an executive order that waived service hour and weight limit restrictions on trucks carrying crops and livestock.

"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared," Cooper said. "During harvest, time is of the essence. Action today can avoid losses due to Florence."

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