Storm watch - Monitoring the Atlantic

Storm watch - Monitoring the Atlantic

Storm watch - Monitoring the Atlantic

More and more, Florence is looking like a storm that may give the US East Coast problems as a potentially major hurricane next week.

The National Weather Service in Charleston has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Wherever Florence ends up going, we will feel some of the effects along the coast and those effects will begin this weekend with rough surf, large swells, and a risk of rip currents. On Friday, its winds fell to 60 mph as the storm moved westward at only 7 mph about 780 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. The atmospheric conditions do not appear ideal for rapid strengthening, but we often do not have a handle on all of those factors. On this path, Florence will track over the warm waters off the southeast US coastline.

The tropics are increasingly active this weekend - as one might expect in September during hurricane season - with two named storms and one expected to gain a name sometime Saturday. Long-term forecasts indicate the hurricane could have winds of 130 miles per hour by Tuesday.

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. A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is forecast over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean early next week. The center shifted its track southwestward Friday. It is important to note that there is considerable uncertainty five days out, making it too soon to determine the magnitude and timing of potential major impacts to the East Coast. This will accelerate the hurricane toward the middle of the U.S. East Coast.

Meanwhile, a new tropical storm, "Helene," has formed in the eastern Atlantic off the western coast of Africa. The storm was centered about 905 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 8 mph. It's forecast to become a hurricane by Monday.

Moving closer to the Caribbean, Tropical Depression Nine has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph Saturday morning, and is now 172 miles east of the Windward Islands.

The National Hurricane Center said Florence's maximum sustained winds on Friday night were estimated to be 60mph. It will be given the name Isaac. The system is expected to move little over the next few days and has a low chance of becoming a tropical storm.

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