Tropical storm Florence expected to become hurricane

Tropical storm Florence expected to become hurricane

Tropical storm Florence expected to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Florence, now about 765 miles from Bermuda and 1,500 miles from the East Coast, is expected to regain strength and return to hurricane status later in the day Sunday. The storm's winds had increased to 140 miles per hour by Monday afternoon.

"Florence is expected to become a hurricane tonight and rapid intensification is likely to begin on Sunday".

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"You never know, there could be tree missiles coming from any direction", she said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon.

Airlines, including American and Southwest, have started letting passengers change travel plans that take them into the hurricane's possible path.

Hurricane Florence on Sunday had winds moving at 75 mph, and was 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 6 mph.

North Carolina has a strong statute against price gouging - charging too much during a time of crisis - that is tied directly to a declaration of a state of emergency.

State government offices, including schools and medical facilities, will be closed in 26 counties, McMaster said.

Concerns about the monster storm extended even into Virginia. It's expected to strengthen through Tuesday before beginning to weaken. The evacuation zone includes the most flood-prone coastal areas, Northam said.

According to NHC officials, Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Large swells are expected to pound Bermuda and the U.S.'s East Coast.

"While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely risky major hurricane through landfall", NHC officials said. Its maximum sustained winds are at 105 miles per hour (165 kph). Hurricane Fran in 1996 was a Category 3 storm as it struck below Cape Fear.

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The storm was expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents along the U.S. east coast this weekend.

The first impacts were already being seen on barrier islands as unsafe rip currents and seawater flowing over a coastal road.

Red flags have already been flying on beaches, warning swimmers to stay out of the water as seas began kicking up.

The governor urged residents to begin making their preparations as the entire SC coast remains in the cone of uncertainty.

"This is very scary rain event potentially setting up this week", Rossi said. Some forecasting models show it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.

Florence's immediate threat for residents includes large ocean swells, risky rip currents and coastal flooding. This could lead to devastating flooding across parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.

"All of the evidence points to an extreme disaster in the making in the mid-East Coast/Carolina region", said Bryan Norcross, a senior hurricane specialist with the Weather Channel.

The U.S. Navy is sending almost 30 of its Virginia-based ships out to sea as Hurricane Florence barrels toward the Atlantic Coast.

At a press conference with the state's Emergency Management Division director Kim Stenson, McMaster told residents to follow a "Hurricane Guide" and prepare their homes.

SC and Virginia declared states of emergencies to give residents time to make preparations for the severe weather.

"A big question on this track is how intense the storm remains over the Research Triangle area of North Carolina - Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill", Watson said. One year after historic storms that ravaged the American Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico last year, officials warned not to underestimate the threat the storm poses.

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