RALEIGH, N.C. -- Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency on Friday as Tropical Storm Florence continues to approach the east coast.

Florence is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by early next week.

Related: Tracking Florence: Carolinas Needs to Watch

Cooper also waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transport their crops more quickly.

“While it’s still too early to know the storm’s path, we know we have to be prepared,” Gov. Cooper said. “During harvest, time is of the essence. Action today can avoid losses due to Florence.”

Cooper says state emergency management officials are working with local and federal agencies to prepare North Carolina for possible impacts from Florence.

NC Emergency Management shared the following tips for preparing for a possible tropical storm or hurricane:

  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Know the routes you need to leave your home (evacuation routes). Locate your local emergency shelters.
  • Closely watch/listen to the weather reports. Listen every hour as a storm nears.
  • Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and ATMs may be closed after a hurricane.
  • If authorities ask you to leave, do so quickly.