Florence gains hurricane status as it tracks towards east coast

The cyclone is bound for the US east coast

The cyclone is bound for the US east coast

Forecasters were also tracking two more storms further out in the Atlantic, with Tropical Storm Isaac expected to become a hurricane later on Sunday as it barreled toward the Caribbean.

Florence, which was at hurricane strength earlier this week before weakening to a tropical storm, had maximum sustained winds of 105 km/h.

Residents in North Carolina and other East Coast states should pay attention to the storm and begin to think about hurricane plans.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a unsafe storm. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.

A third storm, Helene, off the Cabo Verde Islands was expected to become a hurricane later on Sunday. According to officials, Florence has already created swells that are affecting Bermuda and are expected to affect portions o the States, resulting in "life-threatening surf and rip currents".

As of the 11 a.m. Saturday advisory, Florence had maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and was moving to the west at 7 miles per hour. "Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas". "Florence continues on a track to impact the U.S. mainland by Thursday or Friday".

"I encourage Virginians to monitor forecasts and make their own preparations now", Northam said.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's maximum sustained winds early Saturday morning were estimated to be 60 miles per hour (95 kph). Gradual strengthening is forecast and Florence could become a hurricane again over the weekend.

Graphic illustration and forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac as at September 9 2018.

Cruise lines are redirecting their ships to avoid the path of Hurricane Florence as it begins to bear down on the United States.

The National Hurricane Center says it is still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path, but a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit. The NHC has also issued an advisory for the Eastern Pacific on Tropical Storm Paul, and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has issued advisories for Hurricane Olivia, which is moving quickly westward toward Hawaii. Storm surge and freshwater flooding from rainfall could become life-threatening risks, especially from SC through the mid-Atlantic.

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