It was moving west at 6 miles per hour.
Florence was forecast to become a Category 3 hurricane by Monday with sustained winds of more than 110 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center forecasts Florence to intensify rapidly into a major hurricane by Monday. Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday, September 9, 2018, due to the presence of Hurricane Florence over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Navy said all ships in Virginia's coastal Hampton Roads area were preparing to leave port for open seas Monday.
Before that, the centre of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday. Loewenthal said the waters off the North Carolina coast are in the mid-to-upper 80s, which would allow the storm to maintain its strength.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that it expects Helene to produce tropical storm conditions for parts of the Cabo Verde Islands on Sunday. The current forecast track brings Florence on approach to the southeast US coast on Thursday as a major and powerful hurricane.
Regardless of the eventual path of Florence, large swells will affect beaches this upcoming week, creating "rough surf, life-threatening rip currents and steep waves at inlet entrances", the NWS reports.
The southeastern U.S. coast will be most at danger on Thursday, when Florence could be at Category 4 strength.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare.
"With this order government agencies will begin to mobilize in anticipation of a hurricane", McMaster said.
Tropical Storm Isaac is churning towards the Windward Islands amid a forecast that it could become a hurricane before the end of the day. Admiral Christopher Grady said ships can better weather "storms of this magnitude when they are underway".
Florence could cause unsafe surf and rip currents along parts of the U.S. East Coast this weekend as the storm swirls across the Atlantic, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.
Two low pressure systems off the coast of Africa behind Florence also had high chances of developing into tropical storms, forecasters said.
- The tropics are very active this weekend, as several tropical storms are moving through the Atlantic.