Florence poses threat to U.S. South­east coast

Trop­i­cal storm ex­pected to build into a hur­ri­cane.

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Jennifer Kay

MI­AMI — Trop­i­cal Storm Florence is be­com­ing a “bet­ter or­ga­nized” weather sys­tem that will likely strengthen into a hur­ri­cane, weather fore­cast­ers said.

The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said Satur­day the storm was ex­pected to be­come a “ma­jor hur­ri­cane” by Tues­day as it passes be­tween Ber­muda and the Ba­hamas on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day. The storm is ex­pected to ap­proach the South­east U.S. coast on Thurs­day.

Of­fi­cials in North Carolina were al­ready brac­ing for im­pact.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster de­clared a state of emer­gency Satur­day to give his state time to pre­pare for the pos­si­ble ar­rival of a hur­ri­cane.

McMaster em­pha­sized that there’s no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evac­u­a­tions might be called.

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 Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said Satur­day that Florence will start to rapidly in­ten­sify to­day, and be a ma­jor hur­ri­cane by Tues­day.

The news re­lease notes that plans could change if fore­casts in­di­cate a de­crease in the strength or change in the track of the storm.

On Fri­day, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper de­clared a state of emer­gency and urged res­i­dents to use the week­end to pre­pare for the pos­si­bil­ity of a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

Swells gen­er­ated by Florence could cause dan­ger­ous rip cur­rents and coastal flood­ingy in ar­eas in­clud­ing coastal Delaware and New Jer­sey, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the Mi­amibased hur­ri­cane cen­ter said Florence’s max­i­mum sus­tained winds were es­ti­mated to be 65 mph.

NOAA VIA AP

This en­hanced satel­lite im­age made avail­able by NOAA shows Trop­i­cal Storm Florence.

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