Florence forecast to restrengthen to a major hurricane before threatening US

Gwen Vasquez
September 8, 2018

Florence became the first Category 4 hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season before slowing down a bit - with its maximum sustained winds decreasing to near 65 miles per hour, the NOAA reported.

Friday afternoon, Florence had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but strengthening is expected over the weekend. Large swells were likely to start hitting the British island territory in the north Atlantic Ocean on Friday.

Of interest to forecasters is which direction Florence will go over the next several days.

Some forecast models showed Florence slamming into land by late next week, while others indicated the storm would curve away from shore. It is important to note that there is considerable uncertainty five days out, making it too soon to determine the magnitude and timing of potential major impacts to the East Coast.

The focus on Florence comes less than a day after Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall on the US Gulf Coast, leaving one child dead and ushering storms through Monday across the western South and the Midwest.

In the photos, Florence seems massive, albeit somewhat disorganized since the hurricane's eye isn't immediately noticeable and the storm has lost some of it's symmetry.

Moving closer to the Caribbean, Tropical Depression Nine has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph Saturday morning, and is now 172 miles east of the Windward Islands.

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The National Hurricane Center has not yet issued any coastal watches or warnings as of their 5 p.m. ET advisory. The storm's maximum sustained winds were 40 miles per hour and it was moving west at 12 miles per hour.

Now they may have to brace themselves for this year's first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.

Florence is forecast to track west through the weekend, forecasters said.

If the storm does head toward the east coast, threats could begin in the middle of next week.

Off the coast of Africa, two waves continued to become better organized and could potentially become Helene and Isaac, the season's eight and ninth named storms.

The tropical wave is now given a 10 percent to develop over the next 48 hours and 50 percent over the next five days.

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