Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Hurricane Florence takes aim at US East Coast

Hurricane Florence takes aim at US East Coast

"Florence is forecast to be a unsafe major hurricane near the southeast USA coast by late next week, and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase", the hurricane center said Saturday.

But the shear is abating and the storm is approaching warmer waters - conditions that could allow Florence to become a hurricane again on Sunday and a major hurricane - meaning a Category 3 storm or greater - by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm reached major hurricane status Wednesday, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

Florence will become a unsafe hurricane Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through Thursday. Florence was centered about 985 miles (1,585 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda and is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).

It is forecast to approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

Tropical Depression Nine became Tropical Storm Isaac on Saturday afternoon over the eastern tropical Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said.

SC and Virginia declared states of emergencies to give residents time to make preparations for the severe weather. Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the U.S. East Coast.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency on Friday saying: 'We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms'.

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Meanwhile, two other storms - Helene and Isaac - were following behind Florence in the Atlantic, but those storms were expected to be less of a threat to the USA, forecasters said. Authorities in Florida said they were closely monitoring the storm.

Currently, there are no coastal warnings or watches for the storm.

Norwegian Dawn, with a guest capacity of 2,300, was originally supposed to travel to Bermuda, but swept into Halifax on Sunday morning instead - an itinerary change thanks to hurricane Florence. And it's not likely to weaken before reaching the shores of North and SC and Virginia on Thursday, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said.

"Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway", U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Admiral Christopher Grady said in a statement.

The latest forecast shows Florence will continue moving slowly westward, and will be caught between a pair of mid-level ridges over the Atlantic Ocean.

Another tropical storm has now developed in the Atlantic and could possibly hit the British Virgin Islands as a hurricane in the next few days.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 miles per hour (110 kilometres per hour) with higher gusts. Their governors declared states of emergency Friday and Saturday.

Helene has sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and is moving west at 13 miles per hour.

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