Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Tropical Storm Florence A "Potential Threat"

Tropical Storm Florence A

Strengthening into a tropical storm is forecast this weekend and possibly a hurricane early next week as it approaches the Lesser Antilles.

Scott Bullard, Fayetteville's emergency management coordinator, said he has been in contact, via email, with N.C. Emergency Management and staying abreast of weather-related developments.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared the state of emergency Friday evening, calling on residents, specifically farmers, to prepare for the gathering storm. A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is forecast over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean early next week.

On its current track, Florence's winds are forecast to strengthen to 140 miles per hour by Wednesday morning, making it an extremely unsafe Category 4 hurricane.

But increasing wind shear, as Helene drifts further west, should weaken her at the start of the work week.

As the storm is monitored over the next week, meteorologists warn to review hurricane plans and have supplies ready. Models intensify Helene into a hurricane by Sunday, but look to turn this storm north before it gets close to the United States. If it does brush up against the coast, Cumberland County could see winds and rain, Morrow said. "However, there is still very large uncertainty in model forecasts of Florence's track beyond day (five), making it too soon to determine the exact location, magnitude, and timing of these impacts", hurricane specialist Robbie Berg wrote in a forecast advisory.

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"It's now being reported as just a tropical storm, but a strong one at that, and is expected to strengthen as it continues to work its way across the Atlantic over the weekend".

Maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles per hour (75 kilometres per hour) with higher gusts. The storm is moving west at 13 miles per hour.

Forecasters expect the storm to bring tropical storm conditions to parts of the Cabo Verde Islands on Saturday night and Sunday. After passing the Cabo Verde Islands the system was not expected to pose a direct threat to land for at least several days.

He said: "Florence has taken quite a hit overnight, It was a Category 4 storm Wednesday night and has dropped down to Category 2 this morning".

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.

The system is expected to move westward over the coming days, and will likely become a tropical storm later Saturday.

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