Hurricane Florence Grows Stronger, Heads Toward US East Coast

Tropical Storm Florence, now about 765 miles from Bermuda and 1,500 miles from the East Coast, is expected to regain strength and return to hurricane status later in the day Sunday.

The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency far ahead of the storm to get ready.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that it expects Helene to produce tropical storm conditions for parts of the Cabo Verde Islands on Sunday.

Landfall could be made between SC and North Carolina on Thursday, according to NHC predictions. The storm was centered about 835 miles (1340 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).

Landfall is expected in the Carolinas later this week, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Swells generated by Florence could cause risky rip currents and coastal flooding today in some areas including coastal DE and New Jersey, according to the National Weather Service.

The Miami-based center said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory that Florence was moving west northwest at 9 miles per hour.

The storm had been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm last week before it began to strengthen again over the Atlantic late Friday.

Residents as far north as Virginia were warned that Florence posed an increasing risk of life-threatening coastal storm surge, as well as flooding from heavy rainfall inland should the slow-moving storm system stall over the Southeast.

The parking lot has been full for three days at the Ace Hardware store in coastal Calabash, North Carolina, where manager Tom Roberts said he sold 150 gas cans in two hours Monday, along with generators, plywood, rope, manual can openers, sand bags and a plethora of other items. "If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, please let my office know so we can hold them accountable", Stein said. "Accordingly, I am declaring a state of emergency so that we can begin to prepare state assets, and I encourage Virginians to monitor forecasts and make their own preparations now".

Forecasters said it is too early to know the exact path the storm will take but warned that it could roll ashore in the Carolinas by Thursday.

Hurricane Isaac - which late Sunday became the fifth hurricane of the season - is heading west towards the Caribbean. It is about 1,400 miles east of South Florida.

At right, off the coast of Africa is Tropical Storm Helene, and second from right is Tropical Depression 9.

  • Joey Payne