This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence, center, in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at 2:45 p.m. EDT. (NOAA via AP)

The Latest: Carolinas officials: Prepare for storm disaster

September 09, 2018 - 12:37 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Florence (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Authorities in the Carolinas are warning residents to prepare for a potential disaster as Hurricane Florence gains strength ahead a potential landfall later in the week.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Sunday that coastal and inland residents alike need to get ready for potentially heavy rainfall and flooding from the storm. Cooper urged residents to "review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now."

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division tweeted Sunday that officials there are "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster."

The National Hurricane Center said Florence had re-strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Sunday as it was located about 710 miles (1,142 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda. Forecasters predicted it would become a dangerous Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

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11 a.m.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Florence has turned into a hurricane and is swirling toward the East Coast for what could be a direct hit toward the end of the week.

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, on Sunday morning as it was swirling across the Atlantic, about 750 miles (1,210 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda. It was moving west at 6 mph.

The National Hurricane Center says it is still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path, but a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit.

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