Tropical storm Florence likely to become a hurricane, forecasters say

Tropical storm Florence likely to become a hurricane, forecasters say

Tropical storm Florence likely to become a hurricane, forecasters say

The Carolinas and other parts of the East Coast could be hit a major hurricane next week as Tropical Storm Florence continues to intensify, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday morning.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in their 5 a.m. advisory Isaac was holding steady in strength over the central Atlantic and was moving west at 14 miles per hour.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a unsafe storm.

"All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States", the hurricane centre said. It will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday and Thursday, before approaching the southeastern USA coast, the NHC said in an advisory. It is over warm water and a favorable upper level environment so rapid strengthening is forecast and Florence is forecast to be a major hurricane Monday morning.

Hurricane Helene, upgraded from a tropical storm Sunday afternoon, had winds clocked at 75 miles per hour. They warned that Florence could slow or stall after coming ashore, with some forecasting models showing it could unload a foot or two of rain in places, causing devastating inland flooding.

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'.

SC rain totals will be largely in the 1 to 1.5 inch rain, the National Hurricane Center is reporting. The storm is expected to move west, toward the Lesser Antilles, likely impacting those islands by later this week.

Isaac strengthened into a hurricane Sunday night, hours after Helene, too, became a hurricane.

Hurricane Isaac had maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour at 5 a.m. Monday, and is moving in the direction of the eastern Caribbean.

Henry McMaster, governor of SC, warned the USA should be braced for the hurricane to hit. It will likely become a major hurricane within the next day or two. Right now, the storm is expected to stay out in the Atlantic, never coming near the United States. Forecasters had predicted between nine and 13 named storms this season, four to seven of them hurricanes.

The 5p.m. update placed the centre of the system near latitude 24.6 north, longitude 54.7 west or about 810 miles (1,305 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda or some 695 miles (1,120 kilometres) northeast on the northern Leeward Islands.

Large swathes of the US East Coast are braced for a hurricane which is forecast to strengthen into a major storm.

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