Florence Strengthens Into Hurricane, Continues Moving Towards East Coast

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The latest forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, "Florence is moving toward the west near 9 miles per hour (14 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple days".

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the storm to get ready. The storm is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as it slowly moves toward the U.S.by late next week.

Adm. Christopher Grady said in a statement that the decision was based on Florence's current track, which indicates the area could see strong sustained winds and storm surges.

The storm's center was 750 miles southeast of Bermuda at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Florence is quickly approaching the eastern United States, and according to the National Hurricane Center, the storm's threat to the East Coast keeps rising.

North Carolina residents boarded up their homes and piled cars with valuables on Monday after officials warned coastal areas would be hit from Hurricane Florence, the most powerful storm to take aim at the USA mainland this year.

Swells generated by Florence could cause unsafe rip currents and coastal flooding today in some areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

At 11 p.m. ET, the hurricane centre said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 miles per hour (110 kph).

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Hurricane Helene is expected to turn north into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"Im telling them to go inland, but Im anxious about the rain and tornadoes too", Roberts said.

Storm surge and hurricane watches may be issued Tuesday morning for portions of southeastern U.S. states, the NHC said.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham warned that Florence was forecast to slow down significantly and linger over the Carolinas once it reaches shore, dropping heavy rainfall as far as West Virginia.

A hurricane hunter plane found Florence strengthening quickly after it became a hurricane Sunday. The island state is still recovering from Hurricane Lane, which brought flooding rains to many areas last month. While larger than Katrina (which was 415 miles wide), it still has a ways to go to reach the record width of 1,000 miles from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

In South Carolina alone, more than 1 million residents and tourists are expected to flee from coastal areas, Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday, vowing that state officials "are not going to gamble" with people's lives.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia is set to sweep through the Hawaiian islands Tuesday, where tropical storm watches have been posted.