Powerful hurricane could be headed to US

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence center in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 2:45 p.m. EDT

Powerful hurricane could be headed to southeast US

A Category 4 storm packs winds of 130 miles per hour (209 kph) or more and has the potential for catastrophic damage.

Florence started out as a tropical storm Sunday before strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane. SC governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday, in order to give his state time to prepare for the possible arrival of a hurricane.

These swells, already affecting Bermuda, "are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", the NHC said.

Dave Loewenthal, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Wilmington office, said the storm's track is still uncertain.

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence third from right in the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday Sept. 8 2018 at 3 p.m. EDT. At right off the coast of Africa is Tropical Storm Helene and second from right is Trop
Florence continues to intensify and East Coast landfall appears imminent (free access)

The storm itself, however, is not expected to make landfall until Thursday evening at the earliest, according to the latest forecast path from the NHC.

South Carolina's governor says residents should count on "a lot of wind and a lot of rain" from Hurricane Florence this week.

The National Hurricane Center said Sunday Tropical Storm Isaac was centred about 1,540 miles (2,475 kilometres) east of the Windward Islands.

The National Hurricane Center says Florence could make landfall by Friday in the Southeast U.S. and that residents from SC to the mid-Atlantic need to get ready.

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Florence's effects already were being felt in the Carolinas in the form of unsafe ocean swells, life-threatening rip currents and rough waves.

The window for the storm to miss the USA coast and turn harmlessly back to sea is closing, CNN forecasters said.

"Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), in an 11 a.m. ET update, said Florence is "forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely risky major hurricane through" Thursday, Sept. 13.

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The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port.

Another tropical storm has now developed in the Atlantic and could possibly hit the British Virgin Islands as a hurricane in the next few days. It will be given the name Isaac. Models intensify Helene into a hurricane by Sunday, but look to turn this storm north before it gets close to the United States. "Our ships can better weather storms of this magnitude when they are underway", said U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady, according to Military.com.

South Carolina's Emergency Management Division said residents should begin preparing their homes and property for the storm.

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