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

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Newly minted Tropical Storm Helene is also gaining speed and intensity, moving westward at 13 mph toward the southern Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph - moving 1 mph faster than 11 p.m. Friday with winds having grown 5 mph.

"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.

“There is still uncertainty in the long term track but Florence is likely to be upgraded to a potential threat to Bermuda later today due to it coming within 400 nautical miles (460 miles) in the following 72 hours.”.

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It had reached major hurricane status on Wednesday and peaked to maximum sustained winds of 130mph.

As we get into the heart of this year's hurricane season, all eyes are on the Atlantic where things are starting to heat up. Florence could become a hurricane again by Saturday night or Sunday. Foremost among those is Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to restrengthen into a hurricane next week and looks increasingly likely to hit the East Coast.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and urged residents to prepare for the storm's arrival. At this point, its exact landfall location is very hard to determine as Florence will eventually make a NW and then north turn. The favorable environmental conditions are expected along the path of this developing tropical cyclone and the system should become a hurricane during the early or middle part of next week.

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Hurricane expert Robbie Berg said: "The risk of other direct impacts associated with Florence along the US East Coast next week has increased". Portions of the east coast could see rip currents this weekend.

Meanwhile residents along the United States east coast are being warned to prepare for the possible arrival of Florence next week, with modelling showing the weakened storm could regain it's strength to a hurricane as it approaches Bermuda. Keep monitoring Daily Voice for updates. Or, it could make an actual landfall, with more severe impacts at the beaches, and wind & rain farther inland here in the Piedmont.

Tropical Depression Nine formed 1755 miles east of the Windward Islands Friday.

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Forecasters said it was too early to tell where Florence will go.

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