RALEIGH (WFMY) -- Take Florence seriously. Very seriously. That was the message North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivered Monday morning.

Cooper and state emergency management officials held a media briefing about the state's preparation for Hurricane Florence, which strengthened to a category 4 storm.

Cooper asked for a federal disaster declaration on behalf of North Carolina to ensure the state can get federal aid as soon as possible. It has since been approved from his request earlier made. It will help speed up federal aid to our state.

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“The forecast places North Carolina in the bull's eye of Hurricane Florence, and the storm is rapidly getting stronger,” Cooper said. “When weather forecasters tell us “life-threatening,” we know it’s serious. We are bracing for a hard hit.”

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Most models have North Carolina directly in the hurricane's path with the storm continuing to intensify. Cooper emphasized that the coast is not the only part of the state that needs to be on alert. Some models have Florence dumping dangerous amounts of rain over inland areas.

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RELATED | Mandatory Evacuations Begin On Parts Of Outer Banks Ahead Of Florence

"Florence is a threat well beyond our coast," Cooper said. "Inland counties need to be ready as well."

Cooper also said power outages could be widespread and he encouraged people to be proactive in preparing for stretches with no electricity.

"The best safety plan is preparation and common sense," Cooper said. "We're getting the resources in place for what we may need...now the people of North Carolina need to get ready."

Some parts of the Outer Banks have already issued evacuations.

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