by Chris White
South Carolina followed North Carolina’s footsteps in declaring a state of emergency Saturday as Tropical Storm Florence approaches the East Coast on its way to becoming a hurricane.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday, as the state prepares to make resources available if Florence morphs into a hurricane. He called on residents to make proper precautions.
“While it’s still too early to know the storm’s path, we know we have to be prepared,” Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday. “During harvest, time is of the essence. Action today can avoid losses due to Florence.”
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 8, 2018
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster followed suit. “This is not an evacuation. It is way too early for that,” he said Saturday. “We know that it’s coming, and we know that we need to take precautions.”
McMaster, a Republican, called Florence “a very unpredictable hurricane,” adding: “We are preparing for the worst and of course hoping for the best. Being prepared is always the best strategy.”
Florence might not be the only major storm Cooper and McMaster will have to consider.
Tropical Storm Helene is also forming off the western coast of Africa, where hurricanes frequently form on their way to the U.S. Helene is located about 270 miles east of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands, the National Hurricane Center reported Saturday. Helene’s maximum sustained winds were 45 mph and it was moving west at 13 mph.
The 2018 hurricane season, which runs from June to roughly November, has not been as active as the one that brought Hurricanes Maria and Harvey to Puerto Rico and Texas in 2017. Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted in May a “75-percent chance that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal.”
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