Monday, December 10th, 2018 pm31 3:38pm

Hurricane Florence strengthening as it targets Southeast

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Tropical Storm Florence is expected to intensify into a hurricane on Sunday as it continues to take aim at the United States’ southeast coast.

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Governors in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina all declared states of emergency over the past two days in anticipation of the hurricane.

“While the impacts of Tropical Storm Florence to Virginia are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect the storm to strengthen into a major hurricane that could seriously affect the East Coast and Virginians,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Saturday as his state became the latest to declare a state of emergency.

Florence has sustained winds of 70 mph on Sunday morning and is located 765 miles southeast of Bermuda. The storm is moving west at 6 mph. Florence is looking more organized Sunday morning on satellite.

Tropical storm force winds extend 125 miles from the center.

Florence continues to strengthen on Sunday and will likely become a major hurricane by Monday.ABC News
Florence continues to strengthen on Sunday and will likely become a major hurricane by Monday.

Florence is forecast to move west Sunday, but then begin to turn west-northwest by Monday. The current forecast track brings Florence on approach to the southeast U.S. coast on Thursday as a major and powerful hurricane.

Due to warm ocean temperatures and lack of shear, Florence will be in a very favorable environment for development. The storm is expected to undergo rapid intensification beginning on Sunday night, and will likely become a major hurricane by Monday.

Strong high pressure will develop north of Florence later this week, which should cause the storm to move northwest toward the Southeast coastline. Several forecast models have begun to hint that this high pressure becomes strong enough to cause Florence to slow down tremendously late in the week.

PHOTO: Florence, as a hurricane, will approach the Southeast coastline overnight Thursday into Friday.ABC News
Florence, as a hurricane, will approach the Southeast coastline overnight Thursday into Friday.

The risk of direct impacts in the U.S. are increasing.

It remains too soon to determine the location and magnitude of impacts from Florence.

PHOTO: A high-pressure system could cause major slowdown for Florence through the week ahead.ABC News
A high-pressure system could cause major slowdown for Florence through the week ahead.

The National Hurricane Center is advising “interests along the U.S. East Coast, particularly from North Florida through North Carolina, should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and follow any advice given by local officials.”

Isaac next to become hurricane

Moving southeast in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Isaac currently has winds of 50 mph and is moving west at 9 mph. The storm is 1,540 miles east of the Windward Islands. Isaac is forecast to strengthen over the coming days.

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

The storm is expected to continue moving west in the next few days and become a hurricane by Monday.

Isaac will be near the Lesser Antilles later this week and could bring impacts to parts of the Caribbean Islands during this time frame.

Olivia aiming for Hawaii

In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia currently has winds of 80 mph, and is approximately 825 miles east-northeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Olivia is expected to move west through Monday before turning west-southwest late Monday and early Tuesday local time. On the current track, Olivia may be near the Hawaiian Islands by late Tuesday.

PHOTO: Hurricane Olivia is moving west-southwest toward Hawaii.ABC News
Hurricane Olivia is moving west-southwest toward Hawaii.

Even though Olivia is expected to weaken, it could still bring impacts to the Hawaiian Islands by midweek.

Regardless of forecast track, significant effects from Olivia are possible in Hawaii, which could be enhanced due to the unique terrain of Hawaii.

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