Hurricane Florence Expected to Become Major Hurricane Very Soon

Hurricane Florence tracker and spaghetti models

Hurricane Florence tracker and spaghetti models

Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

At 5 a.m., the center of the eye of Hurricane Florence was located by satellite near latitude 29.0 North, longitude 70.1 West, approximately 575 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port as Tropical Storm Florence approaches the East Coast.

The hurricane center warned that the swells are likely to cause "life-threatening" surf and current conditions.

At 5 a.m. EDT, the hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 miles per hour (110 kph).

Hurricane Helene, was spinning in the Atlantic off West Africa's Cabo Verde Islands with 85-mph (140-kph) winds on Sunday, but did not appear to pose an immediate threat to land. One of the primary concerns with this system is the inland flooding threat.

"The storm is strong and getting stronger", Cooper said. A tropical depression that could become Tropical Storm Isaac is headed toward the Caribbean and brings a greater chance of curving north toward Puerto Rico and the mainland, potentially as a hurricane.

Forecasters say the hurricane's strength is expected to fluctuate but it still will be a unsafe storm by the time it reaches the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was moving west northwest at 9 miles per hour.

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For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other risky conditions.

Models intensify Helene into a hurricane by Sunday, but look to turn this storm north before it gets close to the United States.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and is urging all North Carolinians to prepare.

"It could approach the coast as far south as Georgia, or as far north as Virginia, and if we're really lucky it will stay away from the coast altogether", said Moss.

Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence was expected to regain hurricane strength as it neared Bermuda.

Meanwhile, two other tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin.

McMaster said SC residents should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

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

Florence is moving toward the west near 9 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue today.

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