Tropical Storm Florence is expected to become a hurricane by Saturday night with rapid strengthening Sunday to become a major hurricane by Tuesday, according to the latest National Hurricane Center forecasts. It was given hurricane status on Tuesday, became a major hurricane on Wednesday and then was almost torn apart in an unfavorable environment Thursday and was once again downgraded to a tropical storm by early Friday.
The National Hurricane Center said despite Florence eventual path, large swells will begin to affect the U.S. East Coast this weekend, resulting in life-threatening surfs and rip currents.
The NWS advises people to review their hurricane plans and monitor the storm closely.
Florence was a tropical storm with top sustained winds of 65 mph Saturday afternoon, centered about 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
The winds from Tropical Storm Florence are expected to strengthen this weekend.
Even if Florence remains entirely at sea, the storm is likely to generate heavy seas and hazardous rip currents along the US this weekend, the hurricane center warned.
A U.S. landfall is not guaranteed, but it is looking more likely toward the end of next week.
More and more, Florence is looking like a storm that may give the US East Coast problems as a potentially major hurricane this week.
"Due to the uncertainty of the storm's track this many days in advance, VDEM encourages all residents of Virginia to prepare for impacts from this storm", officials warned.
The three cyclones - Florence, Tropical Depression Nine and Helene - come right before the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak Monday.
Then it may become a major hurricane sometime during the week.
Florence, which is located 810 miles west of Bermuda, is moving at 5-mph west.
This system will likely become a tropical storm today and a hurricane Sunday or Monday.
The storm is expected to bring high winds and storm surge, which will likely cause coastal flooding.
The move comes one day after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a similar declaration. Helene is forecast to brush the Cabo Verde Islands off Africa before drifting into the central Atlantic, while Isaac could grow to a hurricane and threaten the small islands in the Caribbean Sea by Thursday.