FLORENCE HEADING TOWARD THE U.S. SOUTHEAST COAST

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Florence was located
near latitude 29.4 North, longitude 70.7 West. Florence is moving
toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this motion is
expected to continue this morning. A motion toward the northwest is
forecast to begin by this afternoon and continue through Thursday.
Florence is expected to slow down considerably by late Thursday into
Friday, and move slowly through early Saturday. On the forecast
track, the center of Florence will move over the southwestern
Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and the Bahamas today, and approach
the coast of North Carolina or South Carolina in the hurricane
warning area on Thursday and Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher
gusts.  Florence is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Wind Scale.  Strengthening is forecast through tonight.
While some weakening is expected on Thursday, Florence is forecast
to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane when it nears the U.S.
coast. An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is currently
investigating the hurricane.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from
the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175
miles (280 km).

The minimum central pressure recently measured by the
reconnaissance aircraft was 943 mb (27.85 inches).


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