Weather

Why has Florence prompted a state of emergency before we know if she’ll hit the Carolinas?

Hurricane Florence expected to strengthen as it heads to western Atlantic

Watch at loop of NOAA satellite images of Hurricane Florence as it moves west in the Atlantic Ocean.
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Watch at loop of NOAA satellite images of Hurricane Florence as it moves west in the Atlantic Ocean.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday, just a day after Tropical Storm Florence was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane.

And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it’s still too early to tell what the impact to the Carolinas might be.

So why was a state of emergency declared?

Farmers are a big part of the answer to that question.

“During harvest, time is of the essence,” Cooper said in his statement declaring the state of emergency. “Action today can avoid losses due to Florence.”

Florence continued to weaken overnight, but National Hurricane Center forecasters said Friday the lull is unlikely to last: in the next four to five days the tropical storm could roar back as a major hurricane.

His executive order waives transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transport their crops more quickly. It cites a recommendation from state agricultural commissioner Steve Troxler that the storm presents “an imminent threat of severe economic loss of livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested.”

So vehicles transporting those agricultural goods will not have to be weighed along North Carolina highways, temporarily, while the state of emergency is in effect.

The winds from Tropical Storm Florence are expected to strengthen this weekend. The National Weather Service in Morehead City predicts that Florence will be renamed a hurricane on Sunday.

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