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Florence Predicted to Become Hurricane as It Threatens to Hit Carolinas, Virginia

2018-09-09 15:37
Forecasters are expecting Florence, now a tropical storm but expected to become a hurricane, to get dangerously close to the U.S. East Coast and will potentially make landfall in North Carolina and South Carolina. The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia declared states of emergency ahead of the storm, according to reports. “A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected by [Sept. 10], and that motion is forecast to continue through mid-week. 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 southeastern U.S. coast on Thursday,” said the U.S. National Hurricane Center. As of 8 a.m. on Sept. 9, Florence is still at tropical storm strength. Currently, there are no coastal warnings or watches for the storm. The U.S. Navy also said that ships are preparing to depart Hampton Roads on Sept. 10. "Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway," said U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady, according to Military.com. Winds will start to hit the U.S. coast at around 8 p.m. on Sept. 12, according to the NHC. States of Emergency "While the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence to Virginia are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane that could seriously affect the East Coast and Virginians," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on Sept. 8, ABC News reported. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said on Sept. 8 that there is no way to tell when the storm will hit or where it will hit. “We are preparing for the worst and of course hoping for the best. Being prepared is always the best strategy," McMaster said, Fox News reported. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Sept. 7 and called on residents to prepare. "We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms," Cooper said, Fox reported. The National Hurricane Center, meanwhile, is advising "interests along the U.S. East Coast, particularly from North Florida through North Carolina, should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials." Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and starting to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard, the National Weather Service said. At 5 a.m. EDT, the hurricane center said Florence’s maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 mph. The storm was centered about 765 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph, according to The Associated Press. The Associated Press contributed to this report.