Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

Hurricane Florence Strengthens, Poses Major Threat to Southeast and Mid-Atlantic

The National Hurricane Center projects Hurricane Florence could become a major storm - classified as Category 3 or higher - by Monday.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that it expects Helene to produce tropical storm conditions for parts of the Cabo Verde Islands on Sunday.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and risky currents along the coast.

"All indications are that Florence will be an extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States", the hurricane centre said.

Even if Florence remains entirely at sea, the storm is likely to generate heavy seas and hazardous rip currents along the US this weekend, the hurricane center warned.

According to a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Florence's maximum sustained winds have intensified to 85 miles per hour.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the U.S. East Coast.

Aircraft data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour (120 km/h) with higher gusts.

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Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as the National Hurricane Center warned a hurricane hunter plane found the storm strengthening quickly. They warned that Florence could slow or stall after coming ashore, with some forecasting models showing it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.

Graphic illustration and forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac as at September 9 2018. Advisories warning of unsafe beach conditions or coastal flooding were in effect for parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system.

Meanwhile a third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The storm's about 760 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph.

For now, the brunt of the storm is expected to be felt between northern Florida and North Carolina on Wednesday or Thursday, and residents there "should closely monitor the progress of Florence", the statement said.

Isaac could become a hurricane on later today or by Monday morning.

Tropical Storm Helene became Hurricane Helene on Sunday afternoon, as well.

'However, given the uncertainty in track and intensity forecasts at those time ranges, it's too soon to determine the exact timing, location and magnitude of those impacts, ' the center added.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, on the other hand, took to Twitter to announce that officials are "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

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