Hurricane Florence churns toward Bermuda as Gordon soaks U.S.

Cristina Cross
September 8, 2018

Florence became the first Category 4 hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season before slowing down a bit - with its maximum sustained winds decreasing to near 65 miles per hour, the NOAA reported. By early next week, Florence could ramp up to major hurricane strength once again. Wherever the storm goes, beach-goers could see some impacts as early as this weekend.

The forecast track shows Florence's forecast path approaching the southeast USA coastline late next week. Large uncertainty in model forecasts make it too soon to determine the location, magnitude and timing of the storm's impacts next week.

Now a Category 3 hurricane, Florence is still several days out from making any sort of landfall with Bermuda located in the "cone of uncertainty", where the storm system may strike.

As of Wednesday, the hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 storm.

"We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms", Cooper said.

A map showing the earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm-force winds from Florence as of 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, 2018.

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While a direct path for Hurricane Florence has not yet been determined, the storm is making a consistent west, northwest move, according to Steven Pfaff with the National Weather Service.

He said: "Florence has taken quite a hit overnight, It was a Category 4 storm Wednesday night and has dropped down to Category 2 this morning".

And while its long-term path is still uncertain, the storm is expected to begin affecting parts of the U.S. East Coast over the next few days.

Most storms in that region tend to curve away from the United States.

Meanwhile, two other systems were developing near the west coast of Africa.

Helene is forecast to strengthen, with tropical storm conditions reaching the Cabo Verde Islands Saturday. But it is reasonably likely some coastal areas will deal with a damaging wind threat, flooding rain, and a substantial storm surge - which is a rise in ocean water above normally dry land.

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