Hurricane Helene Continues To Gain Strength In Eastern Atlantic

Hurricane Florence has rapidly intensified into a "potentially catastrophic" Category 4 major hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds as it makes its way toward the U.S. East Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Hurricane Center warns that Florence could soon cause a coastal surge that includes flooding before the storm is projected for USA landfall (probably) on Thursday.

As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, Hurricane Florence's center was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda and was moving west-northwest at a speed of 9 mph.

By noon EDT on Monday, Florence had top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (195 kph).

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents", the hurricane center said.

As it nears the U.S. Atlantic shore, Florence will also benefit from "very warm" sea surface temperatures of up to 85 degrees, the hurricane center said.

Officials with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said Sunday morning they had fully activated at Operational Condition 3 (OPCON 3), which means state agencies were preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster or emergency situation. Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit SC.

The center of the hurricane is forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas tomorrow and Wednesday (Sept. 11-12), before approaching the southeastern coast of the USA on Thursday.

Now tracking in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of the US mainland, "A turn toward the northwest is forecast to occur late Wednesday night", the latest NHC dispatch stated. Hurricane damage can go beyond the coast as heavy rain and strong winds are expected inland.

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Forecasters said their hurricane hunter aircraft found Florence strengthening as it churned about 1,160 kilometres southeast of Bermuda.

We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials.

Oliva said various models have the storm's eye making landfall anywhere between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks.

The US military said it was sending an advanced team to Raleigh, North Carolina, to coordinate with federal and state partners and that about 750 military personnel will be set aside to provide support. SC ordered an estimated 1 million people to evacuate its coast. She grew up on the shore, and says this will be only the second time she's evacuated.

Southeastern North Carolina remains in the middle of the storm's "cone of uncertainty", with the cone extending from roughly Hilton Head, S.C., in the south to the Chesapeake Bay in the north.

Florence is now projecting hurricane-force winds (74 mph and higher) up to 30 miles from its center.

If it makes landfall in North Carolina as a Category 4 storm, it will be the largest storm to hit the state since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Shelves in some grocery stores in Raleigh, North Carolina, were already bare, and residents were filling up their gas tanks, reported NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh.

Early on Monday, Sam Lillo, a University of Oklahoma meteorology student, posted this ominous video of Florence at sunrise. Olivia is forecast to make landfall in the Hawaiian Islands Wednesday as a Tropical Storm.

As meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel reports via Twitter, since 1851, only four Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall north of Florida on the East Coast.

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