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3 U.S. states declare state of emergency as Tropical Storm Florence looms

Click to play video: 'States of emergency declared in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as Florence becomes hurricane' States of emergency declared in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as Florence becomes hurricane
WATCH: Tropical Storm Florence was upgraded to a hurricane on Sunday as it continues to make its way towards the U.S. East Coast, while Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina have declared states of emergency ahead of landfall – Sep 9, 2018

The U.S. East Coast could be hit with a powerful hurricane next week as Tropical Storm Florence continues to strengthen as it moves toward the mainland, forecasters said Saturday.

Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said, adding that “a rapid intensification” is forecast to begin Sunday.

READ MORE: Tropical Storm Florence sets sights on U.S. East Coast, Hawaii braces for Hurricane Olivia

The storm is forecast to become a “major hurricane” Monday, travel between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday before approaching the southeastern U.S. coast on Thursday, the Miami-based weather centre said.

WATCH: Hurricane Florence spinning ‘much faster,’ could potentially make landfall as a category 4 storm

Click to play video: 'Hurricane Florence spinning ‘much faster,’ could potentially make landfall as a category 4 storm' Hurricane Florence spinning ‘much faster,’ could potentially make landfall as a category 4 storm
Hurricane Florence spinning ‘much faster,’ could potentially make landfall as a category 4 storm – Sep 9, 2018

Officials in the Carolinas warned residents to prepare and to brace for impact.

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Governors in both South Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency Saturday to give their states time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster emphasized that there’s no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.

On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster.

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

WATCH: South Carolina ‘preparing for the worst’ as Florence heads to U.S.

Click to play video: 'South Carolina ‘preparing for the worst’ as Florence heads to U.S.' South Carolina ‘preparing for the worst’ as Florence heads to U.S.
South Carolina ‘preparing for the worst’ as Florence heads to U.S – Sep 8, 2018

The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release Saturday that the ships will get ready in anticipation of getting under way Monday to avoid storm damage.

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READ MORE: Tropical Storm Florence forecasted to become hurricane as it nears U.S. east coast

Adm. Christopher Grady said in a statement that the decision was based on Florence’s current track, which indicates the area could see strong sustained winds and storm surges.

The news release notes that plans could change if forecasts indicate a decrease in the strength or change in the track of the storm.

WATCH: North Carolina prepares as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way towards U.S. East Coast

Click to play video: 'North Carolina prepares as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way towards U.S. East Coast' North Carolina prepares as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way towards U.S. East Coast
North Carolina prepares as Tropical Storm Florence makes its way towards U.S. East Coast – Sep 9, 2018

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and starting to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard, the National Weather Service said.

At 11 p.m. EDT, the hurricane centre said Florence’s maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 mph (110 kph). The storm was centred about 790 miles (1,270 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph (9 kph).

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WATCH: Pounding waves, surf as Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall in Alabama

Click to play video: 'Pounding waves, surf as Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall in Alabama' Pounding waves, surf as Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall in Alabama
Pounding waves, surf as Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall in Alabama – Sep 5, 2018

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