‘Rapidly strengthening’: Florence increases to category 2 hurricane
Note: This may not be the most recent forecast, please visit www.myfox8.com or open the FOX8 app for the very latest on Hurricane Florence.
Hurricane Florence is on track to hit the East Coast as a major storm later this week.
As of 5 a.m. ET Monday, Florence had sustained winds of 105 mph, the National Hurricane Center said, making it a category 2 hurricane.
At that time, the hurricane was about 625 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at about 9 mph.
The NHC reports the hurricane is "rapidly strengthening" and expected to become a major hurricane Monday morning.
Florence is forecasted to remain an "extremely dangerous major hurricane" through Thursday, the day when it's expected to reach the East Coast.
The center of the hurricane was forecast to move between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday and approach the southeastern coast of the US on Thursday as a Category 3 storm or higher, according to the hurricane center.
Large swells generated by Florence are already affecting Bermuda and portions of the East Coast and will continue this week, the hurricane center said.
"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents," the National Hurricane Center said.
Ships out to sea
The US Navy said Saturday that it may be necessary to send ships in the Norfolk, Virginia, area out to sea because of the coming storm. The Navy put them on Sortie Condition Bravo, which means the onset of destructive weather is within 48 hours.
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."