Major Hurricane Florence continues to barrel toward the Carolinas

Hurricane Florence tracker and spaghetti models

Florence is on track to hit the East Coast of the USA 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.

North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency as a result of possible impacts from the storm.

Florence, now a Category 1 hurricane, is expected to regain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher) as it continues to track westward and enters a favorable environment for intensification early this week.

USA landfall could come Friday between Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, the Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Helene, was spinning in the Atlantic off West Africa's Cape Verde islands with 85-mph (140-kph) winds on Monday, but did not appear to pose an immediate threat to land.

It is forecast to approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.

Large swells are expected to pound Bermuda and the U.S.'s East Coast.

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Florence was centered about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 9 mph (15 kph).

The other storms — Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene — are both expected to become hurricanes Sunday or Monday.

Florence became a hurricane Sunday with sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Florence's immediate threat for residents includes large ocean swells, risky rip currents and coastal flooding. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged people to secure their homes but said it was too early to know if evacuations will be ordered.

"We are in the bull's-eye", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference Monday. Monday is the climatological peak date of hurricane season, the height of the eight-week period when the most powerful storms usually form, CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossi said the ground in North and SC and Virginia is already saturated from recent rains.

The storm is traveling over warm water; it is expected to increase its speed, and become a hurricane by Saturday night.

Several states have declared a state of emergency as hurricane Florence continues to trek towards the East Coast.

Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line was re-routing its cruise ships, but there were other hurricanes to contend with.

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring catastrophic flooding to areas of the eastern United States already soaked by heavy rain and may be the strongest storm to hit the region in decades.

The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas.

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