Tropical Storm Helene moves toward western coast of Africa

Major Hurricane Likely to Hit East Coast Late This Week

The Carolinas and other parts of the East Coast could be hit a major hurricane next week as Tropical Storm Florence continues to intensify, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday morning.

Another storm, Tropical Storm Isaac spinning farther out in the Atlantic, could also become a hurricane later on Sunday as it gains strength, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said in an advisory on Sunday.

The latest forecast shows Florence nearing the U.S. East Coast as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 miles per hour winds on Thursday.

The storm had been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm last week before it began to strengthen again over the Atlantic late Friday.

The storm's center was 765 miles southeast of Bermuda at 5 a.m. Sunday.

AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski warned that Florence could even make landfall along the U.S. East Coast.

South Carolina's Emergency Management Division said although it was too early to tell if the storm would have any impact on the state, it's advising coastal residents to start making contingency plans.

States of emergency have been declared in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia in preparation of extreme weather caused by the hurricane.

SC emergency management officials said they were "preparing for the possibility of a large-scale disaster".

For now, the brunt of the storm is expected to be felt between northern Florida and North Carolina on Wednesday or Thursday, and residents there "should closely monitor the progress of Florence", the statement said.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but officials say it is expected to become a hurricane by Monday.

Florence is moving toward the west near 6 miles per hour (9 kph), and this general motion is expected to continue through today.

The forecast cone of Florence touches the East Coast between Savannah and Wilmington, N.C.

Tropical Storm Helene is set to bring potential for flash-flooding as it hit Cabo Verde Islands in Africa.

Meanwhile, over the Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Olivia is approaching Hawaii with maximum winds of 85 miles per hour.

In a news release, the Navy said the ships can handle destructive weather better while at sea and that "having the ships underway also makes them ready and available to respond to any national tasking, including any needed disaster response efforts in the local area after the storm has passed".

The governors of both Carolinas have declared a state of emergency for each of their states. It will affect the Cabo Verde Islands, possibly as a hurricane this weekend.

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