Florence expected to become major hurricane, risk to East Coast increasing


Effects along the East Coast could begin to be felt this weekend, the NOAA's National Hurricane Center warned. Large swells were likely to start hitting the British island territory in the north Atlantic Ocean on Friday.

Over the course of the past few days, social media posts showed snapshots of forecast models showing doom and gloom forecasts of showing Florence making landfall at one spot or another.

It's too early to tell if the storm will make landfall somewhere on the East Coast, or if it will turn harmlessly back to sea.

But, the NHC said that while further weakening is forecast during the next day or two Florence is expected to remain a hurricane and likely re-intensify over the weekend. The forecast track has the storm strengthening to a hurricane next week as is tracks west.

Tropical cyclone Florence has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but is expected to strengthen again before possibly brushing or striking the East Coast next week. That would make it a Category 3 hurricane as it gets closer to Bermuda.

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The National Hurricane Center said Florence's maximum sustained winds Friday evening were estimated to be 65 miles per hour.

While it is still too soon to say how Tropical Storm Florence will affect Florida or the US east coast, the National Hurricane Center said this weekend is a good time to review your hurricane plan.

A tropical wave was also expected to move off the west coast of Africa Friday, potentially forming a tropical depression over the weekend or early next week. Sustained winds had slowed to 65 miles per hour.

Projections show a meandering course, and the National Hurricane Centre cautioned that a variety of models were in play, making it hard to forecast into next week. But a trough could weaken that ridge, steering the storm more toward the northwest and away from land. Hawkins said the office will begin sending out regular PowerPoints on the storm's movement to local emergency officials and media, and additional National Weather Service staff will be brought in early next week. The next two named storms would be Helene and Isaac. Formation chance in 48 hours was at 10 percent, and formation chance over the next five days was 50 percent.