Tropical Storm Florence continues its churn toward United States coast

Hurricane Florence weakens but could threaten U.S. coast next week

Given sufficient warm water and low shear, Depression Nine should become a tropical storm sometime on Saturday. This ridge of high pressure will cause a blocking pattern and steer Florence dangerously close to, or into, the East Coast of the U.S.by midweek. It is also expected to intensify into a hurricane. On this path, Florence will track over the warm waters off the southeast US coastline.

Tropical Storm Florence is becoming a "better organized" weather system that will likely strengthen into a hurricane late Saturday, weather forecasters said. Or, it could make an actual landfall, with more severe impacts at the beaches, and wind & rain farther inland here in the Piedmont. The storm will slowly weaken over the next few days.

The US East Coast is bracing for Florence as it approaches the coastline. It's more likely that Florence will make landfall along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast, though exactly where is still very uncertain. The storm reached major hurricane status Wednesday, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

"When we get into Monday", Booth said, "if things are going the same way, we'll start ramping up our preparations to another level". There are several possibilities.

'This setup will guide Florence on a west to northwesterly course into next week'.

Damage could come from wind damage, coastal storm surge and inland flooding from torrential rainfall.

More news: Tropical Storm Norman forecast to reach hurricane strength today

The bottom line is that everybody from Georgia through the Carolinas to Virginia, at the coast and in the eastern part of those states including Washington, D.C., and nearby cities, should be sure they are ready for extended power outages and unsafe weather conditions, which in some cases will require evacuations. It cites a recommendation from state agricultural commissioner Steve Troxler that the storm presents "an imminent threat of severe economic loss of livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested". Stay in touch with your local authorities.

"Making plans at the last minute doesn't do any good", Morrow said. Assuming that happens, it will be of no effect to Florence.

Moss said there is a 40 percent chance of precipitation Saturday, and some residents could see locally heavy downpours because of a weak front in the area.

Both are expected to become tropical storms in the next 24 hours and will be named Helene and Isaac.

A ridge of high pressure moving in from the central U.S.is expected to move toward the Northeast by midweek. The bottom line, people in the eastern Caribbean Islands need to be ready for a hurricane arriving mid-to-late next week.

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