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Florence becomes a hurricane; rapid intensifying expected

NOAA Hurricane Hunters flew through the eye of Florence late this morning, finding the storm now has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts.

Florence is expected to rapidly intensify to a “extremely dangerous major hurricane” as it approaches the southeastern U.S. coast by Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Predictions of where, or even if, she makes landfall are still uncertain. The 11 a.m. Sunday forecast cone shows landfall anywhere from South Carolina to Virginia.

“There is an increasing risk of two life threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland,” the hurricane center said. “While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials,” the center said.

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