Florence becomes hurricane; SE should prep for 'major hit'

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But the gravest threat to the US remains Hurricane Florence, which is expected to strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday night and remain "an extremely risky major hurricane" through Thursday, according to the Hurricane Center.

As a rapidly strengthening Hurricane Florence aims at Southeast coast, behind it Hurricane Helene, Tropical Storm Isaac and one other potential tropical storm are all brewing.

Florence is on track to hit the East Coast of the U.S. this week and now has maxim sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Center's 5 p.m. Sunday update.

"Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday night, and is expected to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane through Thursday", the advisory added. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

"That scenario has a high probability of occurring in North Carolina and Virginia and possibly portions of neighboring states in the Southeast, Appalachians and mid-Atlantic late this week and this coming weekend", Sosnowski added.

Winds are now 105 miles per hour.

Florence's strongest winds were measuring 85 miles per hour, with a possible landfall as a major hurricane happening Thursday. And it would be the first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) to hit the East Coast since Jeanne, which struck Florida in 2004.

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Besides devastating storm surge and winds, catastrophic flooding is possible from Virginia to the Carolinas.

The system will move over the Yucatan Peninsula, and emerge into the Gulf by mid-week.

"This is very scary rain event potentially setting up this week", Rossi said. The Weather Channel warned of a "disastrous" level of flooding for parts of the area.

North and SC and Virginia have all declared states of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Florence.

"This storm gets stronger and stronger" and is on its way to a head-on impact on the Carolinas later this week, Myers said. The move will allow the state to use the National Guard for preparations and recovery if necessary. "Plan for the worst, pray for the best".

Tropical Storm Helene became Hurricane Helene on Sunday afternoon, as well.

News of Tropical Storm Isaac comes only days ahead of the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Gilbert making landfall and ravaging Jamaica on September 12, 1988.

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