Hurricane Florence's Path Shifts Westward, Putting Bermuda On Notice

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As of the 5 p.m. advisory Friday from the National Hurricane Center, Florence has maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and is moving to the west at 8 miles per hour. Hurricane Florence - in the middle of the Atlantic - is of most concern since some long-range computer model forecasts bring it close or over the East Coast of the USA next week.

The risk of impact on the U.S. East Coast from Florence next week has increased, the Miami-based weather forecaster added. These swells will likely increase during next week and result in rough surf and risky rip current activity.

Forecasters in the Baltimore region say any impacts here remain unclear.

Both the European and American models have shifted the storm westward, rather than northerly, increasing the likelihood it will come close to or make landfall somewhere on the East Coast.

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With hurricane season in its peak months, storm activity began to heat up across the Atlantic with several systems in varying stages of development. Florence will remain a tropical storm/weak hurricane this weekend and because of this weaker storm and resulting southerly track, it will likely miss the trough and continue west.

The storm's path has indeed proven tricky to predict: While previous tracks called for Florence to take a more north-northwesterly approach, the latest track shows a flatter, more northwestern and western path. That energy, from Florence's strong winds, could mean rip currents at Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender County beaches. The storm was centered about 905 miles (1,457 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 8 mph (13 kph). In fact, the forecast from the Hurricane Center brings Florence to Cat. That would make it a Category 3 hurricane as it gets closer to Bermuda.

The storm's maximum sustained winds are 40 miles per hour (65 kph) and it is moving west at 12 miles per hour (19 kmh). They will be named Helene and Isaac, when they achieve sufficient organization, which is expected. Accurate keeping of storm track records is a relatively recent activity, especially when you factor in satellite records.