Florence expected to become hurricane, heading to southeast US

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence center in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 2:45 p.m. EDT

Powerful hurricane could be headed to southeast US

Florence could cause unsafe surf and rip currents along parts of the U.S. East Coast this weekend as the storm swirls across the Atlantic, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. According to aircraft data, its maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour. Forecasters predicted it would become a unsafe Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday. "Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".

It would be the first Category 4 hurricane to do so since Hugo in 1989.

At noon today, Florence was 750 miles southeast of the island, moving west at 6mph.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Tuesday as it passes between Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Risky swells generated by Florence were expected to batter Bermuda early in the week, as well as parts of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

The Ohio Valley ridge is concerning because Florence could stop moving pretty quickly around day 5, potentially leading to a serious heavy rain episode and inland flood hazard.

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence third from right in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 3 p.m. EDT. At right off the coast of Africa is Tropical Storm Helene and second from right is Trop
Florence continues to intensify and East Coast landfall appears imminent (free access)

Cristi Legare, who got off the boat with her family in 10-degree-weather, says Norwegian Cruise Line told her about the change at around 10 p.m. the night before it left Boston on Friday. These can range from high winds and storm surge in coastal Virginia to significant flooding both along the coast and in rivers and streams in the western part of the state.

McMaster said he has asked U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in the state in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts Florence will be a unsafe major hurricane near the southeast USA coast by late next week, "and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase".

Florence, as a hurricane, will approach the Southeast coastline overnight Thursday into Friday. "We want people to head the warnings that we are putting out".

As of Saturday evening, however, a track that keeps the storm offshore is still in the cards. "Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway", said U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady, according to Military.com.

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

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