Hurricane Florence, a Category 3, takes aim at Bermuda, potentially East Coast

Hurricane Florence, a Category 3, takes aim at Bermuda, potentially East Coast

Cooper says it's "too early" to know where the storm will go, but he says residents should use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster.

"During harvest, time is of the essence", Cooper said in his statement declaring the state of emergency. However Florence has still maintained a solid core overnight and upper air winds are forecast to begin relaxing today.

As the cyclone headed toward the U.S. east coast the governor issued the order to bypass transportation rules, so farmers could collect their crops without any delay.

Florence is still a tropical storm, but is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday, and a major hurricane again early next week.

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Florence is now moving with maximum sustained winds near 100 kilometers per hour.

"Florence may begin to move faster toward the west-northwest over the western Atlantic early next week", the National Hurricane Center advised.

Florence could regain sustained winds of at least 115 miles per hour by Monday, forecasters say.

Several other potential storms also linger off the coast of Africa and could develop further.

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"This is a classic recipe for a quick intensification trend, and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by days 4 and 5", wrote Robbie Berg, a specialist with the hurricane center in a Friday afternoon forecast discussion. The weakening nudged the storm on more of a westerly course toward the U.S. Weaker storms are steered by different layers of the atmosphere than stronger storms.

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold captured images of Florence as it strengthened on Thursday from his post on the International Space Station.

Tropical Storm Helene formed quickly after moving off the African coast Friday. Long range forecast data on this system also shows a general westward movement into the central Atlantic over the next five days, then diverging greatly on whether Invest 93 will track all the way across the Atlantic or turn north.

If Florence does hit or make it close to the East Coast, it would be a first for a storm in this location.

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The probable path of Hurricane Florence now has the storm's eye passing south of Bermuda.

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