Florence: East Coast Warning Issued as Storm Expected to Become Major Hurricane
Experts warn storm is strengthening over Atlantic Ocean
Officials have issued warnings for the US East Coast as Tropical Storm Florence gains strength and is expected to become a major hurricane over the weekend.
Forecasters predict the hurricane will make landfall sometime next week, possibly as early as Monday.
A state of emergency has already been declared ahead of the storm in North Carolina on Friday.
Tropical Storm Florence is moving west at 9 mph winds of 65 mph were recorded on Saturday morning as it is located 840 miles southeast of Bermuda.
According to ABC News, Florence is still a tropical storm but is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday, and a major hurricane again early next week.
The storm is forecast to move generally in a westward direction over the coming days, with an increase in forward speed during the early part of the week.
On this path, Florence will track over the warm waters off the southeast U.S. coastline.
As Florence moves west, the wind shear will decrease, allowing Florence to become more organized and intensify.
There is a possibility of significant intensification in the early part of next week.
A ridge of high pressure moving in from the central U.S. is expected to move toward the Northeast by midweek.
This ridge of high pressure will cause a blocking pattern and steer Florence dangerously close to, or into, the East Coast of the U.S. by midweek.
The forecast track shows Florence’s forecast path approaching the southeast U.S. coastline late next week.
The risk of direct impact by Florence on the East Coast is rising.
Most of the models are now showing Florence having a direct and major impact to the East Coast in the upcoming week.
It is important to note that there is considerable uncertainty five days out, making it too soon to determine the magnitude and timing of potential major impacts to the East Coast.
The immediate threat this weekend will be large swells and dangerous rip currents along the East Coast due to the storm.
Helene forms, tropical depression targets the Caribbean
Tropical Storm Helene formed just west of Africa in the early morning hours of Saturday.
Helene has winds of 45 mph and is 330 miles from the Cabo Verde Islands. The storm is moving west at 13 mph.
Helene is forecast to strengthen, with tropical storm conditions reaching the Cabo Verde Islands Saturday. Locally, up to 8 inches of rain is expected in the Cabo Verde Islands.
Helene will likely become a hurricane next week.
Moving closer to the Caribbean, Tropical Depression Nine has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph Saturday morning and is currently 172 miles east of the Windward Islands. The system is moving west-northwest at 5 mph.
The system is expected to move westward over the coming days, and will likely become a tropical storm later Saturday.
The forecast track has the storm strengthening to a hurricane next week as it tracks west.
It is too early to determine what, if any, impacts this system will have on the Caribbean.
However, the system is worth watching as we get into next week as it nears the Lesser Antilles.
Olivia approaching Hawaii
The Pacific Ocean is also lively this weekend.
Hurricane Olivia had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and was approximately 1,370 miles east of Honolulu as of 11 p.m. local time.
Olivia is expected to move west-northwest through Saturday, before turning more westward on Sunday.
The storm will slowly weaken over the next few days.
Olivia is expected to approach the main Hawaiian Islands early next week, but it is too early to determine the magnitude of the potential impacts.
It is important to note that significant impacts are possible well away from the center of the storm and that the track error can be quite large at day 5 and beyond.