Florence becomes a hurricane, barrels toward US East Coast

Florence becomes a hurricane, barrels toward US East Coast

Florence becomes a hurricane, barrels toward US East Coast

Hurricane Florence is now a Category 2 storm and is still forecast to slam into the southeastern United States, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in an update on the morning of September 10.

SC emergency officials have elevated the state's readiness again, as they prepare for the possibility of Florence becoming a major hurricane and affecting the state.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) continues to monitor several storms in the Atlantic, including tropical storm Isaac, which is on a path toward the Caribbean and estimated to become a hurricane by Monday. The storm, about 720 miles southeast of Bermuda, is projected to make landfall early Friday morning somewhere in the Carolinas, according to National Hurricane Center forecasts.

The National Weather Service is predicting the center of Florence will hit the southeastern USA coast on Thursday.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has issued a voluntary evacuation for students starting at 12 p.m. Monday as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast.

The hurricane center says "catastrophic" Category 4 storms generate sustained winds of at least 130 miles per hour. It was expected to strengthen into a hurricane then weaken by the middle of the week.

Even if a direct blow is avoided, if Hurricane Florence slows or stalls near the shore it could cause devastating inland flooding, by unloading a foot or two of rain.

The 2018 hurricane season blew into high gear on Sunday.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service said it is monitoring the progress of Tropical Storms Helene and Isaac in the Eastern Atlantic.

SC rain totals will be largely in the 1 to 1.5 inch rain, the National Hurricane Center is reporting.

Additional strengthening is forecast, and Isaac is expected to become a hurricane tonight.

At a news conference on Sunday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster warned of a "likely strong hit" on the state and urged residents to begin making preparations now. "Florence could become a major hurricane by Monday", the NHC said. Forecasters had predicted between nine and 13 named storms this season, four to seven of them hurricanes. Helene is still a Tropical Storm. Both North and SC have declared states of emergency in preparation.

Florence is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 miles per hour. Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system.

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