Florence projected to strengthen to major hurricane


Florence is now a tropical storm and is located about 1500 miles from Hampton Roads, moving west at 9 mph.

The executive order will help gather and move crops in and through the state more easily and quickly in response to problems that could be caused by Tropical Storm Florence in North Carolina and along the East Coast.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Friday evening. The storm has maximum sustained winds of about 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) with higher gusts. But it is expected to strengthen in force and speed in the coming days, thanks to warm Atlantic waters, a decrease in wind shear, and a high-pressure system arriving from the Midwest, which is expected to steer Florence west.

Meanwhile residents along the USA 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.

Florence is still sitting in an area of significant wind shear, which has kept the storm from strengthening.

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The tropics are increasingly active this weekend - as one might expect in September during hurricane season - with two named storms and one expected to gain a name sometime Saturday. The WFMY News 2 Weather team predicts it may get uncomfortably close to the East Coast by the middle of next week. Large swells will also begin affecting the US Southeast coast, with larger waves and rough surf as early as this weekend, increasing through next week. Florence, because of its weaker state, has been moving along toward the west.

Please consult your local National Weather Service office at weather.gov for the latest information on any tropical or storms or hurricanes that could be a threat to your area. On the forecast track, Helene will pass very close to the southern Cabo Verde Islands tonight and early Sunday. Helene has winds of 45 mph, and is 330 miles from the Cabo Verde Islands.

It is expected to regain hurricane strength as it nears Bermuda, although forecasters said it was too soon to tell where the storm would hit.

Helene will likely become a hurricane next week. It was more than 1,700 miles from the eastern-most Caribbean islands early Saturday.