Maryland Weather Meteorology, astronomy and climate conditions in the Baltimore region

Florence 'poised to strengthen' as threat to East Coast increases

Tropical Storm Florence was “poised to strengthen” late Friday, meteorologists said as they urged East Coast residents to spend the weekend ensuring they’re prepared for a hurricane.

The threat of “direct impacts associated with Florence along the U.S. East Coast next week has increased,” National Hurricane Center forecasters said.

As of Friday evening, Florence was about 900 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, and its strongest sustained winds were about 65 mph.

But the hurricane center’s evolving forecast track for the storm suggests Florence will regain major hurricane status by Tuesday, and come within a few hundred miles of the Carolinas by Wednesday.

A variety of long-range forecasting models suggest the storm will make landfall somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, but because Florence is still so far away, the predictions still vary widely.

Even if the storm doesn’t strike the coast, it is expected to create dangerous surf conditions this weekend and into next week.

“Regardless of Florence's eventual track, large swells are affecting Bermuda and will begin to affect portions of the U.S. East Coast this weekend, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents,” the hurricane center warned.

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

“It is still too early to indicate what, if any, impacts to our area Florence may bring,” meteorologists at the weather service’s Baltimore/Washington forecast office wrote Friday morning.

Gov. Larry Hogan said state emergency managers were preparing for the possibility of impacts from Florence. He urged residents to visit and be ready just in case.

“While we don't yet know what the path of this storm will be, it is never too early to prepare yourself, your family, and your home,” he said.

Beyond Florence, there are two disturbances in the eastern Atlantic that are expected to become tropical cyclones in the coming days.

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