Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast

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After briefly weakening to a tropical storm, Florence came roaring back as a Category 1 hurricane Sunday morning, climbing past the 74 mph threshold as it pushed westward about 700 miles southeast of Bermuda.

As of Saturday afternoon, Florence had winds of 70 miles per hour and was crawling to the west at 5 miles per hour.

Forecasters said the storm will rapidly intensify beginning Sunday evening and become a major hurricane by Monday. This means much of the state may deal with flooding, wind damage resulting in downed trees and powerlines.

The governors of Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a unsafe storm.

The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea.

Tropical Storm Isaac could be a hurricane as it continues to move west toward the Caribbean.

Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and starting to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard, the National Weather Service said.

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare.

Norwegian Dawn, with a guest capacity of 2,300, was originally supposed to travel to Bermuda, but swept into Halifax on Sunday morning instead - an itinerary change thanks to hurricane Florence.

On the other hand, Hurricane Helene is moving toward the west near 20 km/h, and a turn toward the west-northwest is expected on Monday, with a continued west-northwestward motion through Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to approach the U.S. East Coast next week.

The latest track for Florence still shows it making landfall sometime Thursday afternoon along the Carolina coast as a category 4. Weakened in recent days by vertical wind shear - which flattened the system and disrupted its center of circulation - Florence will enter calmer, warmer waters over the next 48 hours.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency today in anticipation of the potential impact from Tropical Storm Florence. Winds will begin hitting the Carolina coast 8 p.m. Wednesday and the middle of the two states by 8 a.m. Thursday, NOAA says.

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