Although it is quite a distance away, swells generated by Florence will begin to affect Bermuda Saturday, and Florida along with most of the East Coast of the US will see increasing waves and rip currents this weekend.
The storm was centred about 835 miles (1340 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).
At 5p.m. Helene was located near latitude 13.6 north, longitude 21.7 west or 155 miles (250 kilometres) southeast of the Praia in the Cabo Verde islands.
Forecasters said Tuesday that updated intensity forecasts had Florence strengthening to near Category 5 status over the next 24 to 36 hours. At that point the storm was centered about 1,170 miles (1,880 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the NHC said.
Hurricane Florence approaches east USA , set to become ‘extremely dangerous’ storm
In North Carolina, more than 250,00 people are set to be evacuated today from the northern Outer Banks. There is increasing concern Florence could slow or even stall as it moves near and then over land.
The governors of SC and Virginia also declared states of emergency far ahead of the approaching storm.
This, unfortunately will mean that Florence has a much higher chance of affecting the US east coast by later in the week.
U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration was harshly criticized as being slow to respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, canceled a political rally planned for Friday in Jackson, Mississippi, over safety concerns related to Florence, his campaign said.
Hurricane and storm surge watches were in effect from Edisto Beach, S.C., to the North Carolina-Virginia border and Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.
Officials along North Carolina's coast are issuing a mandatory evacuation order for all visitors and residents on Hatteras Island as Hurricane Florence moves closer to the East Coast.
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Airlines, including American and Southwest, have started letting passengers change travel plans that take them into the hurricanes possible path.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Sunday that coastal and inland residents alike need to get ready for potentially heavy rainfall and flooding from the storm.
Tropical Storm Florence turned into a hurricane Sunday morning and swirled toward the USA for what forecasters said could be a direct hit on the Southeast toward the end of the week. Forecasters said rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight and Florence is expected to become a major hurricane by Monday.
"Those are the benchmark storms on the Carolina coastline, strong Category 4 hurricanes, but the difference with this is it's not going to move fast".
Florence becomes a hurricane, takes aim at US Southeast
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but officials say it is expected to become a hurricane by Monday. Forecasters said it is now around 1,500 miles east of the Windward Islands and is carrying winds of 65mph (100kph).
A warm ocean is the fuel that powers hurricanes, and Florence will be moving over waters where temperatures are peaking near 85 degrees (30 Celsius), hurricane specialist Eric Blake wrote. Tropical storm force winds and some rain bands will likely begin Wednesday night, regardless of the actual landfall of the storm.