The coast can expect tropical storm-force winds as early as Wednesday night and likely Thursday morning, with the highest probability of winds in the Carolinas.
As of Sunday afternoon, hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 25 miles from Florence's center, while tropical storm winds extended up to 125 miles. The expected major hurricane could bring high surf and risky rip currents to the eastern USA, including Florida's east coast, until the end of the week. Such swells can lead to risky surf and rip currents, the NHC warned.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) with higher gusts.
The National Hurricane Center announced Sunday morning that Florence escalated into a hurricane with winds reaching 75mph as it swirls across the Atlantic. If this occurs, flooding inland and along the coast could be very significant with the potential of over a foot of rain over parts of the Mid-Atlantic U.S. This storm is NOT a threat to the Big Bend and South Georgia.
As at least three storms churn their way towards the Caribbean and North America, Evan Thompson, director of the Meteorological Service Division, is warning that, statistically, the peak of the hurricane is now here.More news: Korean leaders schedule third summit, envoy says
The storm is moving slowly towards the west at 9 miles per hour with winds of 65 miles per hour.
Meanwhile a third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
Florence is located approximately 750 miles southeast of Bermuda. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Helene is expected to become a hurricane later today. It will likely become a major hurricane within the next day or two.
Hurricane Florence is expected to be back at major hurricane status sometime Monday, and could impact the mid-Atlantic coast late this week as a category 4 hurricane.
'However, given the uncertainty in track and intensity forecasts at those time ranges, it's too soon to determine the exact timing, location and magnitude of those impacts, ' the center added.
"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said, Fox News reported.