Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 2 storm

Katie Ramirez
September 12, 2018

The storm had winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) and was due to gain strength before it made landfall, which the U.S. National Hurricane Center said was likely to occur early Thursday, bringing heavy rain that could cause severe flooding through the region.

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.

Hurricane Florence has rapidly strengthened to become a major storm, and the hurricane center says more intensification is anticipated.

If Florence makes landfall as a Category 4 in North Carolina, it will be the strongest storm to come ashore that far north on record.

Hurricane Helene, was spinning in the Atlantic off West Africa's Cape Verde islands with 85-mph (140-kph) winds on Monday, but did not appear to pose an immediate threat to land.

As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington encouraged its students to leave campus for a safer location.

Although it is quite a distance away, swells generated by Florence will begin to affect Bermuda Saturday, and Florida along with most of the East Coast of the US will see increasing waves and rip currents this weekend.

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Swells generated by Florence could cause risky rip currents and coastal flooding today in some areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm is 685 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving westward at 7 mph with maximum-sustained winds of 90 mph - and it's strengthening as it heads toward the East Coast. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach at least 74 miles per hour.

"I'm telling them to go inland, but I'm anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

"We here in North Carolina are bracing for a hard hit", Cooper said Monday.

Tropical Depression Nine is expected to become Tropical Storm Isaac late Saturday. Gov. Henry McMaster issued a State of Emergency in response. "We are mobilizing the state's resources to make sure we are prepared, and the people of SC must not hesitate to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane impacting our coast".

Two other storms also are churning in the Atlantic.

The biggest threats include flooding and damaging winds. The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea. It is pretty far south and with high pressure ridging in place over the Atlantic and Florida, should in the short and medium term be a Caribbean system.

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