Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

State of emergency called in North Carolina as tropical storm Florence nears US East Coast

Tropical Storm Florence forecast to strengthen to Cat. 3 hurricane as it nears U.S.

The hurricane center said, "All indications are that Florence will be an extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States". It was on track to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, the NHC said. "I can't find another example of a hurricane/typhoon nearing Guam, Hawaii & the eastern United States at nearly exactly the same time (days ~ 4,5,6 respectively)". And it would be the first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) to hit the East Coast since Jeanne, which struck Florida in 2004.

The storm could hit the southeastern US coast by late this week as a Category 3 storm or higher, bringing life-threatening winds, flooding, and storm surge.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center of the tropical cyclone and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km).

“As a public safety note, the south shore will experience unsettled surf conditions associated with Hurricane Florence, and the public is encouraged to use caution on those beaches.”.

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The Governor's Office, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia State Police, and other state agencies have already begun preparations for the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's maximum sustained winds on Friday night were estimated to be 60mph.

Helene's expected to turn north well ahead of threatening the U.S. East Coast.

Cooper also waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transport their crops more quickly. "We want people to head the warnings that we are putting out". "Action today can avoid losses due to Florence". "A period of rapid strengthening (is expected) within the next 12-36 hours", NOAA says.

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Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence was expected to regain hurricane strength as it neared Bermuda.

Tropical Depression Nine formed 1755 miles east of the Windward Islands Friday.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Florence has turned into a hurricane and is swirling toward the East Coast for what could be a direct hit toward the end of the week. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States.

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