TROPICS: Helene, Florence to become hurricanes this weekend

Cristina Cross
September 12, 2018

The National Hurricane Center said Saturday the storm was expected to become a "major hurricane" by Tuesday as it passes between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for North Carolina Friday, and Sunday his office sent out a news release urging residents to start taking precautions.

Forecasters said Florence was expected to become an extremely unsafe major hurricane sometime Monday, and remain that way for days.

Florence, now a Category 4 storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, could approach the coast of SC or North Carolina on Thursday.

Florence was in the Atlantic about 1,500 miles from the coast and 750 miles from Bermuda, moving west at 6 mph, the center said.

Large swells are expected to pound Bermuda and the U.S.'s East Coast.

The latest update shows Florence as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Hurricane Florence rapidly regained strength Sunday after briefly weakening to a tropical storm, and is possibly on a collision course with the Wilmington-Cape Fear area as a Category 3 storm or stronger. Wherever it lands, it won't move much for three or four days, creating a storm surge and wind event, Osterberg said.

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

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Florence had been affected by wind shear but the conditions in front of Florence are now favorable for development and likely even quicker development.

He said in a statement: "While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared".

Storm-force winds could begin buffeting the Carolina coast by Wednesday night, the NHC said.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division tweeted Sunday that officials there are "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster". It is about 1,400 miles east of South Florida.

Citizens are also advised to remember that flash floods could happen at any time and that flooding is the most deadly and damaging part of any hurricane.

Tropical Depression 9 has become a named system: Tropical Storm Isaac. At this point, it appears like it will be moving into the Central Caribbean by the middle to end of the week as Hurricane Isaac.

The biggest threats include flooding and damaging winds.

In addition, in the Pacific, what's now Hurricane Olivia is forecast to approach Hawaii as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port.

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