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Hurricane Florence strengthens to potentially 'catastrophic' Category 4 storm
12 September 2018, 03:50 | Justin Tyler
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The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and SC have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm. Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.
Florence, now a Category 4 storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, could approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center update on Sunday afternoon had Florence roughly 720 miles southeast of Bermuda, with little chance of being weakened by upper level winds or cooler water.
Tropical Storm Florence is quickly approaching the eastern United States, and according to the National Hurricane Center, the storm's threat to the East Coast keeps rising.
According to officials, Florence has already created swells that are affecting Bermuda and are expected to affect portions o the States, resulting in "life-threatening surf and rip currents".
Swells generated by Florence could cause risky rip currents and coastal flooding on Saturday in areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, the National Weather Service said.
The Miami-based weather center says Florence's maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 70 miles per hour.
Any small change to the storm's current track could affect its path and impact, though, and it's still early, James Murrow, National Weather Service Raleigh forecaster, said in a Sunday briefing. President Donald Trump declared an emergency in North Carolina, allowing it to access federal funds. "If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, please let my office know so we can hold them accountable", Stein said. The island state is still recovering from Hurricane Lane, which brought flooding rains to many areas last month.
It is located about 1,170 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Residents in North Carolina and other East Coast states should pay attention to the storm and begin to think about hurricane plans.
This map shows the projected path of Hurricane Florence on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. The storms are two of three hurricanes now spinning in the Atlantic.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division tweeted Sunday that officials there are "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".
In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.
As the storm moves away from the Cabo Verde Islands later Sunday, it was expected to have the opportunity to become a hurricane.
The U.S. Navy added that it was sending almost 30 ships from Virginia to sea in order to avoid damage.
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Strengthening Hurricane Florence takes aim at U.S. Southeast
Florence has been moving more toward the west and slightly northwest, potentially making direct landfall coming in from the east. Hurricane Hazel came ashore at the South Carolina-North Carolina state line with winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) in 1954.