Florence to become major hurricane by Monday


According to the National Hurricane Center's 5:00 p.m. advisory, the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 14.5 North, longitude 40.3 West. Isaac is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and is expected to accelerate during the next 36 hours. Hurricane Florence is 750 miles southeast of Bermuda and is tracking west at 6 mph.

Columbia-based National Weather Service meteorologist John Quagliariello ("the weather man", McMaster called him) said during a press conference Sunday that Florence is expected to strengthen through Monday, becoming a major hurricane and picking up speed by evening.

Florence strengthened into a hurricane again Sunday as forecasters warned the menacing storm could deliver a brutal hit along the East Coast by the end of the week.

Governors in both SC and Virginia declared a state of emergency Saturday to give their states time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm. Florence's immediate threat for residents includes large ocean swells, unsafe rip currents and coastal flooding.

According to The Washington Post, if Florence hits the U.S. East Coast, it will be the first to do so for a storm in its present location. This would mean serious wind over tropical storm force and maybe as high as hurricane force.

But most of the many "spaghetti" models for Florence agree that the storm is headed to the East Coast near the Carolinas.

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 storm's maximum sustained winds are 65 miles per hour (100 kph) and it is moving west at 14 miles per hour (22 kph).

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"This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances", said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Saturday.

The storm is expected to continue moving west in the next few days and become a hurricane by Monday. The Carolina coast needs to brace for impact Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

Isaac is the ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Even if Florence remains entirely at sea, the storm is likely to generate heavy seas and hazardous rip currents along the US this weekend, the hurricane center warned.

For Central Florida, it is becoming likely that Florence will bring significant wave activity in the Atlantic, along with a unsafe high rip current threat and possible coastal erosion.