Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

Here's what David Epstein is saying about Hurricane Florence

Forecasters said Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic, between Bermuda and the Bahamas, Tuesday and Wednesday - and approach the Carolina coast Thursday.

"The models have not been very good with intensity for this system pretty much for the entirety of the storm", Chipriano said.

The Miami-based weather center says Florence's maximum sustained winds are estimated to be 90 miles per hour (150 kph).

The storm's sustained winds reached 75 mph (121 kph), just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic, about 750 miles (1,210 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said. The island state is still recovering from Hurricane Lane, which brought flooding rains to many areas last month.

OPCON 4: Storm poses possible threat: The possibility of an emergency or disaster situation that may require activation of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC). "We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials".

Trump tweeted Monday afternoon that the federal government was monitoring the storm and was ready to help. "We are with you!"

Currently Florence is forecast to remain a tropical storm for the next day or so, after which steady intensification back to hurricane Florence is anticipated. People living well inland should prepare to lose power and anticipate flooding and other hazards, he warned.

"The takeaway here is this: ..." In those coastal areas, heavy surf and elevated water levels are expected to arrive by Wednesday morning, and rainfall could begin by Thursday morning.

"If you think you're safe because you're away from the coast, that is not true".

Officials along North Carolina's coast are issuing a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors and residents on Hatteras Island as Hurricane Florence moves closer to the East Coast.

Tropical Storm Helene moves toward western coast of Africa
But late this weekend, it appears Florence will pass the first fork, and we will see if it gets captured by the blocking high. But that may must be a blip as it is forecast to re-intensify and return to hurricane strength by this weekend.

Beyond that wave is Tropical Storm Isaac. Further inland, people should be done with their plans by Thursday.

In a news conference Sunday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster urged residents to begin making preparations before the storm hits.

North and SC and Virginia have all declared states of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.

He said he expects other coastal communities to follow Dare County and order evacuations either Monday or Tuesday.

Cooper also urged people to learn what evacuation routes to take, and put fuel in their vehicles in case they're ordered to leave.

More than 3.9 million homes that would cost more than a $1 trillion to rebuild are at risk from hurricanes on the U.S. Atlantic coast from ME to Florida, according to CoreLogic, a property analytics firm in Irvine, California.

The category 1 hurricane was mustering might as it traveled over warm Atlantic waters, about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda at 5.am.

For many, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could carry torrential rains up into the Appalachian mountains, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe weather across a wide area. "We must all be alert and ready".

The storm is expected to continue moving west in the next few days and become a hurricane by Monday. And with little wind shear to pull the storm apart, Florence's hurricane wind field was expected to expand over the coming days, increasing its storm surge and inland wind threats along with life-threatening freshwater flooding.

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