And while we are still at least five or six days away from a possible landfall, the storm has already encompassed the entirety of the SC coast within its "forecast bubble" - prompting S.C. governor Henry McMaster (below) to declare a state of emergency in anticipation of its arrival. Forecast models paint an increasingly grim picture, converging on a track that would have what is now Tropical Storm Florence making a direct hit as a powerful hurricane somewhere along the U.S. Southeast coast.
In a 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the agency located the storm southeast of Bermuda, and coursing westward at 5 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.
In an earlier advisory on Saturday, forecasters said Florence posed an increasing "risk of direct impacts" by next weekend, but that it was "too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of those impacts". Right now, models show North and SC as the biggest targets for Florence.
Improving atmospheric conditions are expected to allow Florence to regain its former strength - the storm reached major hurricane status Wednesday, believed to be a Category Four hurricane, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 210km/h.
State Official’s Wildfire Warning: ‘The Worst May Be Yet To Come’
A crew of 34 firefighters have touched down in New Zealand after spending nearly six weeks battling wildfires in California. He kept driving, with fire lapping at both sides of the highway and burning ash falling all around him.
Computer guidance Saturday morning showed the storm making landfall near Myrtle Beach.
Tropical Depression Nine became Tropical Storm Isaac on Saturday afternoon over the eastern tropical Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said.
"While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared", Gov. Cooper said. The consensus track from the National Hurricane Center increasingly is showing a likelihood of a landfall along the southeast United States coast.
Forecasters say two low pressure systems off the coast of Africa behind Florence also have high chances of developing into tropical storms.
Florence's first impact to Bermuda and the US East Coast could start this weekend with large swells, potentially causing unsafe surf conditions and rip currents.
McMaster's executive order will enable all SC agencies to coordinate resources if the storm hits. The storm has maximum sustained winds of about 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) with higher gusts. The storm is 1,540 miles east of the Windward Islands. Helene will pass close to or perhaps over the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands Saturday night and Sunday.