Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

Gov. Cooper declares State of Emergency in NC ahead of Tropical Storm Florence

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic, about 750 miles (1,210 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Florence has turned into a hurricane again and is swirling toward the U.S. East Coast for what could be a direct hit toward the end of the week.

The storm itself, however, is not expected to make landfall until Thursday evening at the earliest, according to the latest forecast path from the NHC.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cabo Verdo Islands of Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

PETERSBURG — Two hurricanes are active in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

By noon Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Hurricane Helene will likely continue to strengthen since it is in a low wind shear environment and warm waters.

NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERSA photo taken from the International Space Station by astronaut Ricky Arnold shows Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning hours of September 6, 2018. The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.

"All interests from SC into the Mid-Atlantic region should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials", the hurricane center said. It will continue to strengthen and likely upgrade to a category 4 by Tuesday.

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‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Florence is now packing winds of 220 km/h
Behind Isaac , Hurricane Helene is picking up strength, with twist paces of more than 105 miles per hour as of Monday afternoon. All of Hatteras Island was under mandatory evacuation order and other parts of the Outer Banks will have to evacuate by 7 a.m.

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Forecasters also warned that large swells, which will cause "life threatening surf and rip currents", are already hitting Bermuda and parts of the east coast.

On its current track Florence is expected to slam the Carolinas and Virginia the hardest - and all three states have issued emergency declarations to speed preparations.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare, and the Navy said ships in Virginia's Hampton Roads area would leave port for their own safety.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office described Florence as possibly the state's "most significant hurricane event in decades", and warned of "catastrophic inland flooding, high winds and possible widespread power outages".

Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating unsafe conditions.

If the storm stalls, some areas could see feet of rain, especially if downpours focus over the higher terrain in western North Carolina and southwestern and central Virginia. SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

Where the storm makes landfall has implications for where the strongest winds and biggest rise in water at the coast occurs, but strong winds and extreme rainfall could occur at great distances from the landfall location.

Florence is now moving west at around 13 miles per hour (20 kph), and is forecast to drench a large swath of the US East Coast running from northern Florida to New Jersey.

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