Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

TROPICS: Florence to become a hurricane today; TD 9 strengthening

TROPICS: Florence to become a hurricane today; TD 9 strengthening

On its current forecast track, Florence would move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

Tropical Storm Florence turned into a hurricane Sunday morning and swirled toward the USA for what forecasters said could be a direct hit on the Southeast toward the end of the week.

Located about 750 miles (1,200 km) southeast of Bermuda, a Miami-based weather forecaster said Florence hurricane was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour).

Florence is expected to be a major hurricane by Monday.

In Virginia, the Naval Station Norfolk has asked its employees to not leave their vehicles parked at the sprawling Virginia base in coming days in the wake of possible flooding from the approaching Hurricane. That could result is significant flash flooding.

Most forecast models point to Florence's eye hitting the southeast coast sometime on September 14, said Anthony Chipriano, a meteorologist at Radiant Solutions in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The National Hurricane Center says it's still too early to predict the storm's exact path.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have all declared states of emergency.

"Whatever happens, we're going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind, even if the hurricane goes farther north", McMaster said. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.

According to the US National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to strengthen further as it is ready to move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

At 6pm today, Florence was 720 miles southeast of the island, moving west at 7mph.

The hurricane caused some cruise ships headed to the Caribbean to redirect their routes, including Norwegian Dawn. Tropical storm force winds could be felt in Charlotte from this system. It is not out of the question that Florence could become a Category 5 hurricane at some point.

Livingston said they've also spoken with officials in North Carolina for a commitment of assets should Florence make landfall in the Palmetto State, and vice versa. He also urged residents to "review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now".

On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster.

Forecasters predicted it would become a unsafe Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

Florence isn't the only storm in the sea though. Its peak winds were 85 miles per hour, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

Hurricane Olivia, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's advisory issued at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, is approaching Hawaii with maximum sustained winds near 80 miles per hour and is expected to remain at hurricane strength through Monday evening. "Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".

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