Tropical Storm Florence continues its churn toward USA coast

Tropical Storm Florence

Tropical Storm Florence

Tropical storm Florence will strengthen to a hurricane on Sunday, forecasters predict, before it makes landfall on the USA east coast later this week.

The storm reached major hurricane status Wednesday, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kph).

The storm is expected to approach the south-east United States coast on Thursday.

The state of SC also declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a risky storm.

"Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said. However, the NHC says that swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the U.S. East Coast.

By Saturday morning Florence was located 835 miles southeast of Bermuda, and had winds of 65 mph.

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The Governor's Office, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia State Police, and other state agencies have already begun preparations for the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence.

The three systems - Florence, Isaac and Helene - come right before the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak Monday.

On its current track, the storm could make landfall around the Carolinas on Thursday or Friday.

"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared", he said in a written statement. The forecast showed Isaac tracking south of Puerto Rico as it strengthened into a hurricane. Florence's immediate threat for residents includes large ocean swells, risky rip currents and coastal flooding.

Tropical Storm Isaac is also strengthening over the eastern tropical Atlantic and is expected to become a hurricane by late Sunday. NHC added that the risk of direct impact from the storm along the U.S. East Coast over the next week has increased, but it is too soon to determine location, magnitude and timing of the impact.

As of 11 PM Saturday, Florence is a strong tropical storm about 800 miles southeast of Bermuda and 1500 miles from Hampton Roads. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release Saturday that the ships will get ready in anticipation of getting under way Monday to avoid storm damage.

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