Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to start strengthening by Saturday night or Sunday morning.
While meteorologists are still unsure where Florence will track as it moves closer to the East Coast, Northam declared the state of emergency Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the storm’s possible impacts.
The order from Northam allows the mobilization of resources and helps Virginia aid other states impacted by the storm. The order also mobilizes the Virginia National Guard, the governor said in a news release.
“While the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence to Virginia are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane that could seriously affect the East Coast and Virginians,” Northam said in the news release. “Accordingly, I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can begin to prepare state assets, and I encourage Virginians to monitor forecasts and make their own preparations now.”
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said Florence is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane. The latest models showe Florence may make landfall between northern Florida and North Carolina.
Given the uncertainty of the current models, the National Weather Service is warning that the exact timing, location and magnitude of the storm’s impacts are still unknown.
“While the track of Tropical Storm Florence is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that Virginia may see significant impacts from this storm next week,” the governor’s office said in the news release. “Impacts include possible flooding, high winds, and potential storm surge.”
Because of the uncertainty, the governor’s office also recommends preparing ahead in case the storm does head Virginia’s way.