Forecasters say it's too soon to tell where the storm will go because there's still a lot of uncertainty in its long-term track.
Tropical depression eight, now Tropical Storm Helene, is lurking southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. The center's five-day forecast shows the storm off the southeastern coast around 2 a.m. on Thursday.
Florence will stay out at sea at least for the weekend, but even at a distance could produce rough seas and unsafe rip currents along the East Coast.
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Florence could make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 miles per hour winds, the station reported Sunday. As tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy pointed out Friday in The Washington Post, since 1851, 79 tropical systems tracked close to Florence's current location, and not one of those storms made a USA landfall, with the vast majority remaining well offshore.
Over the last 24 hours, Gov. Roy Cooper and Gov. Henry McMaster declared state of emergencies for their respective states ahead of Florence. The storm was centered about 810 miles (1305 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 5 mph (7 kph). McMaster emphasized that there's no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be ordered.
Tropical Storm Helene is in the Far Eastern Atlantic, just off the African Coast. The NHC said coastal communities from north Florida through North Carolina should be on alert and ensure they have their hurricane plans in place.
SC has seen more than two dozen hurricane landfalls since 1893 - the most infamous being Hurricane Hugo, which came ashore just north of Charleston, S.C.as a category three storm in 1989. Impacts include possible flooding, high winds, and potential storm surge.
Tropical Storm Helene is the eighth named storm of season.