Governor declares State of Emergency ahead of Florence

Hurricane Florence weakens but could threaten U.S. coast next week

"We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms", Cooper said.

The impact, if it happens, would most likely be north of Florida, unless Florence weakens dramatically and comes, essentially, due west, which is not impossible, but is not expected at this time.

Cooper said he declared the State of Emergency and waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transport their crops more quickly. Gradual restrengthening is forecast over the weekend, and Florence is expected to become a hurricane again by Sunday and a major hurricane early next week.

In the National Hurricane Center's early morning advisory Thursday, Florence was positioned 1,170 miles east-southeast of Bermuda holding sustained maximum winds of 115 mph with higher gusts.

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Sustained winds have decreased from 130 miles per hour Wednesday when Florence was classified as a Category 4 hurricane.

Helene is moving toward the west near 13 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 45 miles per hour.

Several other potential storms also linger off the coast of Africa and could develop further. Note that the strands are clustered together where the forecast track is most confident, but they diverge where the course of the storm is less certain.

All eyes are going to turn toward Hurricane Florence next week as it continues to move to the west.

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Now they may have to brace themselves for this year's first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold captured images of Florence as it strengthened on Thursday from his post on the International Space Station. He went on to caution residents along the U.S. East Coast that it was too soon to determine "what, if any", impacts Florence could have in those areas. In fact, the forecast from the Hurricane Center brings Florence to Cat.

Tropical-storm warnings have been issued for the southern Cabo Verde Islands. Given sufficient warm water and low shear, Depression Nine should become a tropical storm sometime on Saturday.

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