TS Helene becomes hurricane; TS Isaac could become hurricane soon

Hurricane Florence

With an eye on Hurricane Florence, governors in Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a risky storm.

The storm's sustained winds reached 121 km/h, just over the threshold for a hurricane, on Sunday morning as it was moving across the Atlantic, about 1,210 km/h southeast of Bermuda. The state's emergency management agency said it is "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

"Accordingly, I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can begin to prepare state assets, and I encourage Virginians to monitor forecasts and make their own preparations now", Northam said.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Isaac is expected to weaken as it approaches the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, and then possibly fall apart. The storm had maximum sustained winds at 75 miles per hour and was moving west at 13 miles per hour.

"Spaghetti" models for Hurricane Florence as of Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018.

Boarded up houses are seen ahead of Hurricane Florence's expected landfall, at Holden Beach, North Carolina, U.S., September 10, 2018.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm's center was located about 525 miles (845 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda and about 1,170 miles (1880 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

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Not only has the storm exploded in intensity, but its zone of hurricane-force winds approximately doubled in size Monday.

Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean.

Swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast, the hurricane center said.

"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said. Cotton, corn and soybean fields, along with massive hog and poultry facilities lie in Florence's forecast path.Smithfield Foods Inc., the No. 1 hog producer, and chicken producer Sanderson Farms Inc. saw North Carolina operations disrupted in 2016 in flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats, and raising the likelihood of life-threatening freshwater flooding. Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line re-routed its cruise ships.

Isaac's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) with higher gusts.

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

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