11 a.m. update: Florence strengthens into hurricane

Pat Wise
September 12, 2018

Florence was 575 miles (925 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda and the center of the hurricane was forecast to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, the NHC said.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday in anticipation of the potential impact from Tropical Storm Florence. Florence is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday.

If Florence makes landfall as a Category 4 in North Carolina, it will be the strongest storm to come ashore that far north on record.

"All indications are that Florence will be an extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States", the hurricane center said.

Florence is already causing rough surf and rip currents along the North Carolina coast, and, according to Moss, parts of the Carolina coast could begin feeling significant impacts from the storm as early as Wednesday night.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 65 miles per hour (100 kph).

The hurricane was gaining strength as it traveled over warm Atlantic waters, about 1,240 miles (2,000 km) east-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

Tropical Storm Florence has intensified into a hurricane, threatening to slam the East Coast later this week. The wind field is expected to keep growing, which will increase the storm surge and inland wind threats, the service said in a statement.

"This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", McMaster said.

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Residents should also bring their own blankets, pillows, cots, and special food items if they are on restricted diets. Traffic in all lanes along parts of Interstate 26 and Route 501 will head away from the coast, Mr McMaster said.

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Computer models agree Florence is on track to hit the Carolinas.

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

Hurricane Hunter Aircraft have been flying through Florence all morning long, and as of 8 a.m. have found the storm to have weakened slightly.

The US southeast coast is on alert for a potentially deadly strike from Hurricane Florence as forecasters predict it will strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall later in the week.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

Cooper's emergency declaration makes it possible to waive the state's transportation rules so North Carolina farmers can harvest and transport their crops to market faster.

The latest satellite image over the Atlantic Ocean.

Further to the east, forecasters are also watching hurricanes Isaac and Helene.

US Navy ships are also evacuating their ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave the port.

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