Florence projected to strengthen to major hurricane

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Meanwhile, a new tropical storm, "Helene", has formed in the eastern Atlantic off the western coast of Africa.

However, meteorologists predict that this weakening is only momentary and believe that within the next 36 hours, Florence will regain intensity and again become a major hurricane.

Florence found a bubble of very favorable upper winds and exploded into a Category 4 hurricane yesterday.

The storm is still undergoing some wind shear, however, it is maintaining its form. It is expected to strengthen as it moves west towards the East Coast next week.

Florence has slowed to 12 miles per hour on a northwest track. Some forecast models indicated the storm slamming into land sometime late next week, while others indicate it would curve away from the sore. As soon as Florence's structure fell apart Thursday, it turned westward with the low-level trade winds.

Swells, rip currents expected this weekend at Southeastern North Carolina beaches. The storm's minimum central continues to drop, now at 946 millibars. But it's not a big chance.

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Group of simulations from American (blue) and European (red) computer models from Thursday night.

The best-case scenario would be for Florence to track more to the north, staying east of Bermuda and in the open waters of the central Atlantic into next week.

Further down the road, should Florence make landfall, we will have the potential of heavy rain and gusty winds at some point during the latter half of next week and into following weekend.

Florence is now 1,600 miles from the East Coast and moving toward Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said. Just how close it tracks to the Carolina coast is still uncertain; there are several possibilities.

But the first day of school is expected to go as scheduled on Monday — and all public services are “currently operating as normal, inclusive of public transportation and government offices”, a spokeswoman said. See possible paths in the so-called spaghetti model above.

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