Florence intensifies; landfall across North Carolina becomes more likely

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"On the forecast track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday".

It appears the storm is mostly likely to make landfall in North or SC by the end of the week, but it could still shift, and states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast are being warned to brace for potentially historic storm effects.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 12:15:31 UTC on September 10, 2018, shows Hurricane Florence off the U.S. east coast in the Atantic Ocean.

Hurricane Florence is on the brink of becoming a major storm, strengthening rapidly as it rolls across the Atlantic Ocean toward the U.S. East Coast.

"Right now it's 625 miles South of Bermuda, with 105 mph winds".

Florence could be a Category 4 storm when it approaches North Carolina on Thursday.

The center of the strong storm is about 1,240 miles east-southeast of Bald Head Island, with the hurricane moving westward at roughly 13 mph. In terms of size, the hurricane measures around 500 miles wide, which will result in a massive landfall area when it is expected to hit Thursday and Friday. "These winds may have the potential to cause widespread and prolonged power outages".

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The storm "is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said, issuing his state's emergency declaration.

NOAAAn NOAA map shows the probability of tropical-storm-force winds hitting the US East Coast between Sunday and Friday. "Due to these conditions, Superintendent David Hallac is strongly urging all beach visitors to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean until risky conditions subside".

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Hurricane Helene is now located about 375 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. One model the weather service uses shows Florence making landfall along the southern Outer Banks, then interacting with a low-pressure trough moving across the Great Lakes that steers the storm back out to sea early next week, Wimberley said.

The NHC's 11 a.m. advisory says that Helene is forecasted to become a major hurricane by Monday night. SC ordered an estimated 1 million people to evacuate its coast.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia have already declared states of emergency, but winds and flooding caused by Florence could do serious damage even if it remains offshore.

A surge in the waters off the New England coast is expected to begin as soon as tomorrow, and could lead to some especially high tides and unsafe rip currents, Simpson says, but that's about it. "Normally, a landfalling tropical cyclone just keeps on going inland, gradually dissipating and raining itself out".

At this height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two other hurricanes, Helene and Isaac.

The U.S. Navy said it was sending almost 30 ships from coastal Virginia out of port to ride out the storm.

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