Strengthening Hurricane Florence churns toward US Southeastern coast

Here's what David Epstein is saying about Hurricane Florence

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- SURF: Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the U.S. East Coast.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica said at 4:00 am Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was centred about 2,475 kilometers east of the Windward Islands. Maximum sustained winds are around 75mph; strengthening is expected over the next day or two but it's expected to weaken as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

At this statistical height of the Atlantic hurricane season, Florence was being trailed on east-to-west paths by two hurricanes, Helene and Issac.

"The bottom line is that there is increasing confidence that Florence will be a large and extremely risky hurricane, regardless of its exact intensity", forecasters said. A Category 4 storm packs winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more and has the potential for catastrophic damage.

We're still days away, but landfall in the Carolinas for Hurricane Florence on Thursday is looking more and more likely. Forecasters predicted it would become a unsafe Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

Closer to home, the most immediate threat is a tropical wave just west of Belize and tracking northwest.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday, and waived transportation rules to help farmers harvest and transfer more crops quickly ahead of the storm.

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The storm has sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

"What that means for us is whatever happens, we're going to have a lot of rain and a lot of wind", he said, adding, "Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".

Florence is moving toward the west near 9 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue today.

It appears likely to stay south of Puerto Rico, but some rain could spread in that direction. As a major storm, the hurricane is expected to produce life-threatening conditions. Paul is not expected to make landfall anywhere, but Olivia could threaten Hawaii.

A "major" hurricane is one with sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour.

And a third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. At this point in time, it is too soon to determine whether or not Isaac is a threat to the U.S. While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from SC into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials.

Hurricane Helene is moving over open water west of the Cape Verde Islands and will maintain hurricane strength through Thursday.

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