Florence Strengthens to Hurricane, Could Hit US

Tropical storm Florence became a hurricane Sunday and is expected to intensify and threaten parts of the East Coast of the United States this week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Hurricane Center said the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the hurricane’s progress and be prepared to take instruction from local authorities.

Florence was packing winds up to 120 kilometers per hour.

Tropical storm Isaac, a few hundred kilometers east of Florence in the Atlantic ocean, was also gaining speed and is expected to become a hurricane later Sunday or Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Friday declared a state of emergency and encouraged residents near the coast to prepare.  Authorities in Florida and South Carolina said they were keeping an eye on the storm.

Florence intensified to hurricane strength and weakened again in the past week, while whirling over the open water of the Atlantic Ocean.

Florence could affect eastern U.S. coastal areas far to the north of the impact area, producing dangerous riptides and coastal flooding on the New Jersey shore, forecasters said.

Hurricane experts say there is still a chance the storm would remain over water near the U.S. coastline and eventually move back out to sea to die out.


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