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Ahead of Hurricane Florence, State of Emergency Declared in DC

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A state of emergency has been declared in D.C. in preparation for the approaching Hurricane Florence, one of the most catastrophic storms expected to hit East Coast region later this week.

On Tuesday morning, Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, DC, signed an order declaring a “state of emergency” ahead of the hurricane. The last time such a state of emergency was declared by the mayor was in January 2016, before the winter storm dubbed Snowzilla.

Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, carrying winds of up to 220km/h, is expected to strengthen and possibly become Category 5 on Tuesday. The hurricane is forecast to make landfall in the southeastern states of North or South Carolina on Thursday.

“We are, of course, preparing for Hurricane Florence,” Bowser said in a press conference on Tuesday morning alongside several leaders in D.C. police and fire, transportation, public works, and other city agencies. She added that the state of emergency is effective immediately.

Urging residents to make preparations ahead of the storm, Bowser said the District is anticipating flooding, heavy rain, wind, and possible power outages.

The city will mainly see periods of heavy rains, starting Thursday night and into Friday, the D.C. officials said based on weather forecast at this point, according to The Washington Post report.

“As we prepare for the potential impacts of Hurricane Florence on the District, I encourage all residents and visitors to take this storm seriously and stay up to date on the latest emergency information,” the mayor had tweeted earlier.

As per the latest update posted on The National Hurricane Center (NHC) website, “Florence is expected to re-strengthen later today. Life threatening storm surge possible along the coasts of North and South Carolina.”

President Donald Trump also tweeted about the impending hurricane.

“My people just informed me that this is one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in many years. Also, looking like a direct hit on North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Please be prepared, be careful and be SAFE!,” he said. “Federal Government stands by, ready to assist,” Trump added in another tweet.

As per reports, more than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate from coastal areas as the storm approaches.

The mayor has advised the district residents and visitors to replenish emergency supply kits for dietary, medical needs, and monitor the local radio and TV stations for updated emergency information. The mayor informed the residents to visit alertdc.dc.gov  for emergency information updates and ready.dc.gov/ for tips to prepare for the hurricane. The residents have also been asked to dial 311 to report any flooding and other non-emergency issues.

Andrew Wheeler, the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in a tweet said the residents in the path of the hurricane should visit hurricanes.gov “for ways to prepare and respond to hurricanes and related health and environmental problems”.

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