FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Florence upgraded to Cat. 4


Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Florence is continuing to strengthen, becoming a Category 4 storm.

At 5 p.m., the eye of Hurricane Florence was located near latitude 22.7 North, longitude 46.6 West, about 1,110 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and about 1,295 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

Florence is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through Thursday.

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A turn toward the west-northwest with a decrease in forward speed is forecast to begin Thursday night, followed by a turn back toward the northwest early next week.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 mph with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, but Florence is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through early next week.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles. The estimated minimum central pressure is 953 mb (28.15 inches).

Where will Florence go?

At this point, it is far too early to determine whether Florence will threaten the eastern United States, Live 5 Meteorologist Stephanie Sine said.

The current computer models show agreement over the next few days, but by Wednesday, there is less agreement in the storm's path, with one model aiming the storm toward the Carolinas, but others showing a turn toward the North Atlantic.

"We'll have a much better picture of the storm's track by the late weekend," Sine said.

If the storm were to threaten the eastern United States, that would likely happen late next week, she said.

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