US East Coast Bracing for Hurricane Florence

The center of the hurricane approached the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday.The center of the hurricane approached the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday.

Hurricane Florence is on track to hit the US East Coast as a major storm later this week.

Florence was about 1,100 km southeast of Bermuda as of 11 p.m. ET (3:00 GMT) on Sunday. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 150 km/h and was moving west at about 11km/h, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center, CNN reported.

"Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday night, and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday," the NHC said.

Large swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the East Coast and will continue this week.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents," the National Hurricane Center said.

CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said on Sunday that computer models agreed Florence was on track to make landfall in the Carolinas.

It would be the first Category 3 or higher storm to hit the East Coast since Jeanne struck Florida in 2004.

Most computer models predict Florence will slow down as it moves inland, Hennen said, which could add to the heavy rains and potential flooding.

  Several States on Alert

Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina already are on alert. Their governors declared states of emergency Friday and Saturday.

"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, adding that his declaration would allow state agencies to deploy assets quickly to the coast.

McMaster said Sunday that he had asked US President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration. That would make state and local agencies eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement of some costs.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper waived certain transportation restrictions so that farmers could harvest and move crops more quickly.

Cooper also urged people to learn what evacuation routes to take, and put fuel in their vehicles in case they are ordered to leave.

"Action today can avoid losses due to Florence," he said.


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