22:01 GMT11 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The White House is in contact with US states and territories, including Puerto Rico and Guam, as they are facing threats from the approaching hurricane season, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a press briefing on Monday.

    "The White House has been in contact with governors’ offices and local authorities in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York," Sanders said. Lines of communication remain open and the US federal government stands ready to assist, Sanders added.

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    In addition, Sanders said President Donald Trump will receive a briefing from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long regarding the upcoming storms that are threatening the United States.

    Earlier on Monday, the National Weather Service said Hurricane Florence has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, with winds near 130 miles per hour, and is expected to approach the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday.

    The weather service is also reporting two other hurricanes, Isaac and Helene, lingering behind Hurricane Florence. However, there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

    Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were under the threat of Typhoon Mangkhut. However, the National Weather Service reported on Monday that the storm is moving away from the region and conditions are expected to improve throughout the day.

    Meanwhile, Authorities in the US state of South Carolina ordered a mandatory evacuation for coastal counties ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence, the state Governor’s office said. "Governor Henry McMaster, in coordination with local officials, has issued Executive Order 2018-29, which orders the evacuation of coastal South Carolina residents for their personal safety as Hurricane Florence approaches," the governor's office said in a statement on Monday.

    READ MORE: ‘Big Waves Coming’: Florence to Be Hurricane, Threatens Wide Swath of US Coast

    Residents in all hurricane evacuation zones should evacuate by no later than noon local time on Tuesday, the statement said. The governor has also ordered the closure of schools in the 26 affected counties, it added.


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