Strengthening Hurricane Florence churns toward US Southeastern coast

Tropical Depression Six becomes Tropical Storm Florence

The immediate threat this weekend will be large swells and unsafe rip currents along the East Coast due to the storm.

It's not clear where or if Florence will make landfall, but the risk of direct impacts continues to increase, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. No hurricane has made landfall as a Category 5 in this region on record.

"So when this is all said and done this is probably going to be the costliest storm in the history of the Carolinas because not only are you dealing with a major hurricane hit, but you're dealing with flooding of biblical proportions", Bastardi explains. Florence was a Category 4 storm late afternoon Monday.

Florence remains a tropical storm located 840 miles southeast of Bermuda, it is moving west at 9 mph.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the Miami-based hurricane center said Tropical Storm Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 65 miles per hour (100 kph).

"I dont think many of us have ever been through a Category 4".

There are now no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

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The Center for Sea Level Rise at Old Dominion University in Virginia says cities built on low coastal planes and former creek beds are particularly vulnerable.

The National Weather Center warned of unsafe rip currents in popular tourist areas like Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks.

For many people, the challenge could be finding a safe refuge: If Florence slows to a crawl just off the coast, it could bring torrential rains to the Appalachian mountains and as far away as West Virginia, causing flash floods, mudslides and other unsafe conditions. People living well inland should prepare to lose power and endure flooding and other hazards, he warned.

Several meteorologists said Florence could do what Hurricane Harvey did over Texas, dumping days of rain, although not quite as bad. Even before the evacuation order, Dare County emergency officials warned that rough seas and strong rip currents already were creating unsafe conditions.

A hurricane hunter plane found Florence strengthening quickly after it became a hurricane Sunday.

"Further strengthening is anticipated, and Florence is expected to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the National Hurricane Center said.

By next Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center predicts Florence will be on the brink of Category 4 intensity with 130 miles per hour sustained winds.

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Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence was expected to regain hurricane strength as it neared Bermuda.

The third hurricane in the Atlantic, Hurricane Florence, could pose a danger to parts of the U.S.

Dare County officials ordered everyone to leave Hatteras Island on Monday.

In Virginia, mandatory evacuations begin 8 a.m. Tuesday for about 245,000 residents in a portion of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore area, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for North Carolina Friday, and Sunday his office sent out a news release urging residents to start taking precautions.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic tropics were also flaring up beyond Florence.

States in the U.S. have been braced for there impact of the storm for several days. "Florence could dump a foot of rain in places that cannot handle it, making for a very scary flooding situation in some areas".

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