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Florence expected to become hurricane, take aim at Southeast

September 9, 2018
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Tropical Storm Florence swirled westward across the Atlantic on Sunday, and forecasters said it will strengthen into a major hurricane that could hit the East Coast toward the end of the week.

Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday, the National Hurricane Center said. The Miami-based center defines a major hurricane as one with wind speed greater than 110 mph (177 kph).

A "rapid intensification" was expected to begin Sunday. At 5 a.m. EDT, Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated at 70 mph (110 kph). The storm was centered about 765 miles (1,235 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph (9 kph).

It is forecast to approach the southeastern U.S. coast on Thursday.

The hurricane center said it was still too early to predict its exact path. But forecasters said that the risk of "direct impacts continues to increase" and that a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit.

The governors of North and South Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare, and the Navy said ships in Virginia's Hampton Roads area would leave port for their own safety.

Dangerous swells generated by Florence affected Bermuda and have begun to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard.



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