A state of emergency has been declared in the state due to host the World Equestrian Games (WEG) this week as a hurricane approaches.

As storm Florence, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane yesterday (9 September) is forecast to gain strength as it approaches the east coast of the US, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper put the measure in place.

“While it’s still too early to know the storm’s path, we know we have to be prepared,” Mr Cooper said. “Action today can avoid losses due to Florence.”

The governor added that state emergency management officials are working with their local and federal counterparts to prepare North Carolina for the possible impact of Florence.

The hurricane was about 1,400 miles from the east coast yesterday, and although it is uncertain what the impact will be on the US, it is likely to be a “powerful storm”, bringing strong winds and heavy rain.

It is due to reach the mainland on Thursday or Friday this week, when competition at WEG will be in full swing.

But WEG host Tryon International Equestrian Center reminded fans it is set well inland.

“All systems are a GO for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon this week!” the centre said in a statement. “The National Weather Service is providing updates multiple times a day. It’s too soon to tell where Flo will go, but the good news is we’re located far west and inland!”

Tryon has also set up a system for weather alerts; spectators can text WEG2018 to 888777 for weather and emergency notifications.

CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said computer models agree Florence is on track to hit North and South Carolina.

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The National Hurricane Center added: “All indications are that Florence will be an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States.”

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