Intensifying Hurricane Florence targeting the Carolinas

Florence expected to regain strength

Florence expected to regain strength

Florence crossed the 74 miles per hour threshold from tropical storm to a hurricane Sunday morning, and by evening its winds were up to 85 miles per hour (140 kph) as the National Hurricane Center warned a hurricane hunter plane found the storm strengthening quickly. A hurricane becomes a major (category 3) hurricane once winds reach 111 miles per hour.

If Florence continues on its current forecast track, life-threatening conditions will be possible in North Carolina and SC at the end of next week with risky storm surge and strong winds possible, in addition to flooding that would impact the coasts and areas further inland.

The Miami-based center says Florence is gaining strength and is expected to become a major hurricane Monday and keep that status as a powerful and extremely risky storm until Thursday. "Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".

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In Charleston, South Carolina, along the coast, city officials offered sandbags to residents.

Carnival Horizon which is the newest Carnival Cruise Ship has now canceled its scheduled port of call in Puerto Rico due to Florence which is now a category 1 Hurricane.

Carnival Pride has also been forced to alter its September 9 sailing out of Baltimore. All university-sponsored events and athletics, including Fall Family and Alumni Weekend (Sept. 14-15), the women's soccer match vs. ECU on Thursday (Sept. 13) and the Hampton Inn Seahawk Invitational women's volleyball tournament (Sept. 14-15) are canceled.

Authorities in the Carolinas are warning residents to prepare for a potential disaster as Hurricane Florence gains strength ahead a potential landfall later in the week. Cooper urged residents to "review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now".

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McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and risky currents along the coast.

The storm's center was on track to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, the NHC said.

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.

Florence was about 685 miles (1,100 km) southeast of Bermuda as of 11 p.m. on Friday (0300 GMT on Monday), packing maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h), the Miami-based forecasters said.

At the same time, the Met Service said Helene is moving towards the west near 22 km/h, and this motion is expected to continue through today.

The National Hurricane Center says it is still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path, but a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit.

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