Tropical storm Florence expected to become hurricane

Tropical storm Florence expected to become hurricane on way to eastern US coast
This satellite image taken on September 8 shows (R-L) Tropical Storm Helene off the coast of Africa, Tropical Depression 9 and Tropical Storm Florence. Photo: AFP via PTI

Tropical Storm Florence was expected to strengthen back into a hurricane on Sunday, and forecasters warned that the storm could still make landfall somewhere along the US eastern seaboard late next week.

Early on Saturday, Florence was spinning its way across the Atlantic Ocean more than 800 miles (1,287 km) southeast of Bermuda, moving west at around 9 miles per hour (14 km per hour), according to the Florida-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The storm was expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents along the US east coast this weekend. Florence's path remained uncertain on Saturday, with some models showing a direct hit on the United States in several days and others suggesting it could still veer north without making landfall.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and urged residents to prepare for the storm's arrival. Florence, which was at hurricane strength earlier this week before weakening to a tropical storm, had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (105 km/h).

The NHC is predicting Florence will evolve back into a major hurricane in a few days, with wind speeds possibly reaching 145 mph (233 km/h).

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