Florence becomes a hurricane; 2 other storms gain strength

Hurricane Florence strengthened early on Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (170 kph), and forecasters warned that it is "expected to become a major hurricane very soon" as it churns toward the U.S. East Coast.

By 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) on Monday, Florence was about 1,240 miles (2,000 km) east-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and was a Category 4, the second-strongest on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the NHC said.

On its current track, the storm could make landfall around the Carolinas on Thursday or Friday.

At 1500 GMT, Isaac, which the NHC called a small hurricane, was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kms) east of the Windward Islands - a region still recovering from last year's powerful Hurricane Maria - with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph).

It's now about 575 miles southeast of Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an 12 p.m.

Florence will cause life-threatening storm surge at the coast and flooding from rainfall inland, forecasters predict.

"None of the guidance suggest that Florence has peaked in intensity", the Hurricane Center said, predicting that its peak winds will reach 155 miles per hour Tuesday, just 2 miles per hour shy of Category 5. Now traveling over warm water, the storm is expected to increase in speed and become a hurricane by the end of Saturday night according to the National Hurricane Center.

Met Service said neither of the storms are a threat to Jamaica. Given the uncertainty and time it takes to evacuate, officials in North Carolina have issued mandatory evacuation orders for Dare County and Hatteras Island.


Cooper's emergency declaration makes it possible to waive the state's transportation rules so North Carolina farmers can harvest and transport their crops to market faster.

This NOAA/RAMMB satellite image taken at 12:15:31 UTC on September 10, 2018, shows Hurricane Florence off the U.S. east coast in the Atantic Ocean.

The hurricane center also said that Hurricane Isaac has become the 5th named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

"North Carolina is taking Hurricane Florence seriously, and you should, too", Cooper said.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus warned on Twitter that it could become one of the worst storms in United States history.

In southeast Virginia, Naval Station Norfolk told not to leave their vehicles at the sprawling base later this week because of the flood threat.

Helene is still a Tropical Storm. The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.


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