Hurricane Florence gaining strength as it heads toward United States coast

TROPICS: Florence to become a hurricane today; TD 9 strengthening

The storm is expected to approach the south-east U.S. coast on Thursday.

"Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week", Cooper said in a statement on Sunday.

"Now is the time for your family also to prepare and stay tuned for more updates", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said. The storm is traveling over warm water, and is expected to increase its speed and become a hurricane Saturday night.

The storm was expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents along the USA east coast this weekend. At 5 p.m. EDT Sunday, Florence had top sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and was centered about 720 miles (1,160 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda while moving westward at 7 mph (11 kph).

While the track of Tropical Storm Florence is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that Virginia may see significant impacts from this storm next week. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare.

The National Hurricane Center says it's still too early to predict the storm's exact path.

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Florence regained Hurricane strength this morning, and is considered a potential threat as it is expected to pass within 460 miles of the island in the next 72 hours. The storm is moving west west-northwest.

With the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Florence was located well out in the Atlantic Ocean and clocking 70 miles per hour sustained winds.

Forecasters say it is too soon to tell where Florence would go - some models show the storm slamming into land by late next week, while others indicate it will curve away from shore.

And courtesy of BoatUS.com, one of our favorite storm-tracking websites, here is its latest projected forecast track ... And in a busy start to the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, two other big storms are brewing right behind it.

The probably path of Hurricane Florence as of September 9, 2018, estimating the landfall of the storm in the Carolinas at Thursday evening or Friday morning.

The National Hurricane Center said despite Florence eventual path, large swells will begin to affect the U.S. East Coast this weekend, resulting in life-threatening surfs and rip currents.

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