Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

Florence strengthened into a hurricane again Sunday as forecasters warned the menacing storm could deliver a brutal hit along the East Coast by the end of the week. Virginia has joined North and South Carolina in declaring a state of emergency ahead of

Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

Tropical Storm Florence, now spinning some 1,500 miles from North Carolina's Outer Banks, "is forecast to be a risky major hurricane near the southeast USA coast by late next week", the National Hurricane Center said Saturday.

Florence is expected to become a "major hurricane" by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

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.

The Miami-based weather center said although the storm could intensify to a Category 4 hurricane by midweek, its path was still unclear.

Behind Isaac is Tropical Storm Helene, which was moving across the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands off West Africa on Sunday morning and will become a hurricane late on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

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The chances of a direct hit from Tropical Storm Florence along the Carolinas increased Saturday, according to a release from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The biggest threats include flooding and damaging winds. The governors urged residents to assemble emergency kits including food, water, medications, pet supplies and important documents that might be needed if evacuations are necessary.

The tropical storm Florence, on track to likely hit the East Coast of the USA this week, was upgraded to a hurricane Sunday morning.

With an eye on Hurricane Florence, governors in Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a unsafe storm.

On Saturday evening, Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 miles per hour (110 kph).

The turbulent storm was last spotted 710 miles southeast of Bermuda moving west at 6mph.

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Florence is already causing rough surf and rip currents along the North Carolina coast, and, according to Moss, parts of the Carolina coast could begin feeling significant impacts from the storm as early as Wednesday night.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a risky storm.

Officials in the Carolinas, as well as Virginia, began preparing Friday for the storm's potential major impact.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but officials say it is expected to become a hurricane by Monday. And it's not likely to weaken before reaching the shores of North and SC and Virginia on Thursday, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said. "Being prepared is always the best strategy", McMaster said.

Cruise ship passengers who planned on a warm-weather vacation but ended up in Atlantic Canada instead say they're disappointed about the last-minute change in plans, but they understand the need to put safety first.

Forecasters said it was too soon to tell where the storm would go.

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