Florence expected to become hurricane on way to U.S. East Coast

(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Florence was expected to strengthen back into a hurricane by last night, with forecasters warning the storm will bring life-threatening rip currents to the U.S. East Coast before possibly making landfall next week.

Florence was spinning across the Atlantic Ocean about 830 miles (1,340 km) southeast of Bermuda yesterday, moving west at around 7 miles per hour (11 kph), according to the Florida-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The storm will intensify rapidly today and become a major hurricane tomorrow, with sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour (179 km per hour), forecasters said.

Its center will move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern U.S. coast on Thursday, the NHC said in an advisory.

Florence’s precise path remained uncertain yesterday, but the NHC said the “risk of direct impact” somewhere between Florida and North Carolina was increasing.

The governors of North Carolina and South Carolina declared states of emergency and urged people to prepare for Florence’s arrival. Authorities in Florida said they were closely monitoring the storm.

Florence, which was at hurricane strength earlier this week before weakening to a tropical storm, had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (105 kph) yesterday.

 

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