Florence, the sixth tropical storm in the Atlantic basin this year, intensified into a hurricane on Sunday and will rapidly gain force as it churns over the open ocean toward the U.S. East Coast, with landfall likely in the Carolinas later this week, forecasters said. McMaster on Sunday predicted Florence will likely deliver "a strong hit on SC", though he cautioned that it's still uncertain how bad the Palmetto State will be affected.
Cooper said state emergency management officials are working with local and federal agencies to prepare North Carolina for possible impacts from Florence.
At 5:00 p.m. today, the center of Hurricane Helene was located near latitude 13.4 North, longitude 26.0 West. Helene is moving toward the west near 13 miles per hour (20 km/h), and a turn toward the west-northwest is expected on Monday, with a continued west-northwestward motion through Tuesday.
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus warned on Twitter that it could become one of the worst storms in U.S. history.
Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season this past Wednesday, reaching Category 4 status with maximum sustained winds peaking at 130 miles per hour.
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On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster. The further south Florence moves, the more likely it is that we'll benefit from the rain bands that bring intermittent heavy showers and storms to the region.More news: Trump warns of tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese imports
It is forecast to approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday. Weakness in this high pressure will develop and allow Florence to begin to track north, but when that develops and how much of an opening it gives to Florence to head north is the great unknown with this storm.
Behind Florence are two other storms that the National Hurricane Center is monitoring.
Florence predicted to strengthen into a category four hurricane as it approaches the East Coast of the United States.
Florence is expected to become a major hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical Storm Helene, the eighth named storm of the season, is 155 miles southeast of Cabo Verde, an archipelago nation off the African coast.
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".