Florence, the sixth tropical storm in the Atlantic basin this year, intensified into a hurricane on Sunday and will rapidly gain force as it churns over the open ocean toward the U.S. East Coast, with landfall likely in the Carolinas later this week, forecasters said.
"All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States", the hurricane center said.
It is forecast to approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has issued a voluntary evacuation for students starting at 12 p.m. Monday as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast.
Hurricane Isaac strengthened overnight to become the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season and the third now swirling towards the United States, joining Hurricanes Florence and Helene.
The National Hurricane Center announced Sunday morning that Florence escalated into a hurricane with winds reaching 75mph as it swirls across the Atlantic. Storm surge and freshwater flooding from rainfall could become life-threatening risks, especially from SC through the mid-Atlantic.
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The peak of hurricane season is Monday, and right on cue, there are four tropical systems that are being monitored this week.
Three hurricanes are now churning in the Atlantic - Florence, Isaac and Helene. Advisories warning of risky beach conditions or coastal flooding were in effect for parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Isaac had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour on Saturday.
"We are preparing for the worst, and of course hoping for the best", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, as reported by CNN.
Isaac may be a tropical storm or a hurricane near the Lesser Antilles late this week. The storm was centered about 765 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph (9 kph).
If Florence stays on it's projected path as forecast by the National Hurricane Center, we will be on the west side of the storm, which is the "drier" side, and our rain chances will be a bit lower by the end of the week.
Its maximum sustained winds are at 105 miles per hour (165 kmh).
"Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km)".