Florence strengthens to hurricane, continues trek toward southeast U.S.

Hurricane Florence tracker and spaghetti models

"Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into Friday", NHC officials said."On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas through Wednesday, and approach the coast of North Carolina or SC in the hurricane warning area on Thursday and Friday".

Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency on Friday as Tropical Storm Florence continues to approach the east coast. The storm will most likely make landfall in North Carolina or SC on Thursday.

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph, just over the threshold for a hurricane, on Sunday morning as it was swirling across the Atlantic, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda.

Florence will cause life-threatening storm surge at the coast and flooding from rainfall inland, forecasters predict.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica said at 4:00 am Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was centred about 2,475 kilometers east of the Windward Islands.

Hurricane Florence rapidly regained strength Sunday after briefly weakening to a tropical storm, and is possibly on a collision course with the Wilmington-Cape Fear area as a Category 3 storm or stronger.

Experts have warned for years of the danger hurricanes pose to a region stretching from Virginia Beach at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Charleston, South Carolina, where the land is sinking and the ocean is rising at some of the highest rates on the East Coast.

"So when this is all said and done this is probably going to be the costliest storm in the history of the Carolinas because not only are you dealing with a major hurricane hit, but you're dealing with flooding of biblical proportions", Bastardi explains.

"Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

The category 1 hurricane was mustering might as it traveled over warm Atlantic waters, about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda at 5.am.

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While the storm could weaken some before making landfall, forecasters expect it could still be a Category 3 or 4. Some meteorologists are already predicting that Florence "could be one of the worst storms in USA history".

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The immediate threat this weekend will be large swells and unsafe rip currents along the East Coast due to the storm.

The first effects of what forecasters are already calling a large and extremely unsafe hurricane were already being seen on barrier islands Monday as risky rip currents and seawater flowed over the state highway.

A hurricane watch, which means hurricane conditions were possible, has been issued for most of the coastline of South Carolina and North Carolina, specifically, from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The governor held a press conference Sunday afternoon alongside state emergency response officials to update the state on the potential impacts Hurricane Florence can have on SC.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have all declared states of emergency.

Helene is the eighth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

He said in a statement: "While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared".

Storm-force winds could begin buffeting the Carolina coast by Wednesday night, NHC forecasts showed.

Mandatory evacuations have begun along North Carolina's coast.

Florence is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by early next week. Florence, because of its weaker state, has been moving along toward the west.

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