Tropical Storm Florence takes aim at SC or Georgia coastline

Tropical Storm Florence

Florence strengthened to Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning as the storm charted an uncertain path toward the Unites States' East Coast.

Tropical Storm Isaac, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph early Sunday, was about 1,500 miles east of the Windward Islands, forecasters said.

The storm is expected to approach the south-east USA coast on Thursday.

Late Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency.

McMaster's executive order will enable all SC agencies to coordinate resources if the storm hits.

Unsafe swells generated by Florence were expected to batter Bermuda early in the week, as well as parts of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

South Carolina's Emergency Management Division said although it was too early to tell if the storm would have any impact on the state, it's advising coastal residents to start making contingency plans.

Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength later today, but neither are considered potential threats. "Florence continues on a track to impact the U.S. mainland by Thursday or Friday".

The National Hurricane Center's breakdown of storm strength says Category 3 storms can bring "devastating" destruction.

"You definitely want to make sure prescriptions are up to date, know the evacuation routes, and just be vigilant and keep checking on where this thing will go", Loewenthal said.

At least 67 named storms have passed within 200 nautical miles of where Florence has been travelling since 1851.

Florence, now in the Atlantic about 1,500 miles from the coast and 765 miles from Bermuda, strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph Sunday morning.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 75 miles per hour.

Cruise lines are redirecting their ships to avoid the path of Hurricane Florence as it begins to bear down on the United States.

Swells from the storm, which are likely to cause life-threatening conditions, are beginning to affect the East Coast.

Virginia, in fact, is now included in the National Hurricane Center's forecast cone (shown above). But forecasters said that the risk of "direct impacts continues to increase" and that a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit by Thursday.

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