CBS/AP September 7, 2018, 10:02 PM Florence poised to strengthen as it heads toward U.S. East Coast

MIAMI — Florence, currently a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, is poised to strengthen to a hurricane as it heads toward the U.S. East Coast, the National Hurricane Center said Friday. Over the next few days, the storm could strengthen as fast as it has weakened and head toward the East Coast as strong as a Category 4 hurricane, CBS New York meteorologist Lonnie Quinn said.

As of 8 p.m. ET Friday, Florence was located about 1,460 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are expected to hit the U.S. East Coast over the weekend.

The storm's unpredictable path means it could hit anywhere along the southeastern U.S., Quinn said. With the current data, Quinn said it looked like the storm is most likely to hit North or South Carolina.


On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency. "While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared," Cooper said in a news release, CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN reports. "During harvest, time is of the essence. Action today can avoid losses due to Florence."

Improving atmospheric conditions were expected to allow Florence to regain its former strength. The storm reached major hurricane status Wednesday, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.


Gordon, which made landfall as a tropical storm on Monday, is now a tropical depression, and is moving through central Arkansas. Flash flood watches are still in effect for parts of central Arkansas and Missouri into the Ohio River Valley.

Gordon and its transition to an extra-tropical low could produce total rain accumulations of three to six inches over Missouri into the Midwest, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches through Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Other tropical entities in Atlantic

The Atlantic is "really heating up" with multiple tropical entities, the National Weather Service said in a tweet.

Two low pressure systems off the coast of Africa behind Florence also had high chances of developing into tropical storms, forecasters said.

"Since we are near the peak of hurricane season, this is a good time for everyone who lives in a hurricane-prone area to ensure they have their hurricane plan in place," hurricane specialist David Zelinsky wrote in a forecast advisory.

The Atlantic hurricane season peaks around Sept. 10 or 11.

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