The center of the hurricane is predicted to move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas by Wednesday and could intensify into a Category 4 storm, with winds reaching 130-156 miles per hour, before it makes USA landfall sometime Thursday or early Friday.
"Florence is forecast to be a unsafe major hurricane near the southeast US coast by late next week, and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase", the hurricane center said Saturday.
The storm's center was 720 miles (1,160 km) southeast of Bermuda at 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday, and on a track to pass between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Wednesday, the NHC said. The NWS is expecting to issue strong rip current advisories for all area beaches Sunday, and Loewenthal said that is expected to continue through the week. North Carolina Sergeant Chris Knox told NPR, "This allows our farmers to gather their crops, and get these crops out ahead of the storm".
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division went to Operating Condition 3 (OPCON 3) Sunday morning, That means the agency's operations center in West Columbia, which is where all emergency efforts will be coordinated, is fully activated. Additional strengthening is forecast, and Isaac is expected to become a hurricane tonight.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Sunday that coastal and inland residents alike need to get ready for potentially heavy rainfall and flooding from the storm.
"The risk of other direct impacts associated with Florence along the U.S. East Coast next week has increased".
Officials in the Carolinas warned residents to prepare and to brace for impact. While forecasters say it's too soon to determine the exact timing and a possible landfall for the storm, people from SC to the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the approaching storm.
On its current trajectory, winds from the hurricane could reach the southeastern United States late on Wednesday, with Florence possibly making landfall around the Carolinas on Thursday or Friday.
Currently, there are no coastal warnings or watches for the storm.
The National Weather Service in Morehead City said swells from the storm will lead to unsafe rip currents in certain coastal areas Sunday.
The storm could dump between 20-40 mm of rain on the region and surrounding areas Sunday and Monday.
Even further away is Hurricane Helene and her 75 mph winds, which are 145 miles south southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands off the western coast of Africa.
It is moving toward the west near 11 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue today.
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