Florence remains powerful Category 4 hurricane as it continues toward East Coast

Monday marks peak of hurricane season

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager, Troy Bridges - Meteorologist

ORLANDO, Fla. - The tropics are very active on the peak of hurricane season, with three hurricanes and another system swirling in the tropics.

Hurricane Florence remains a Category 4 storm with 140 mph maximum-sustained winds as it swirls toward the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous storm by the time it nears the coast of South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday. The center said hurricane and storm surge watches are expected to be issued Tuesday.

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As of 11 p.m. Monday, Florence was moving west-north-west at 13 mph.

A man drowned and two other beachgoers were injured Sunday in the rough surf caused by Florence off Volusia County. Beach officials have urged swimmers to take caution because of strong waves and rip currents.

Behind Florence is Hurricane Isaac, which has winds of 70 mph. It is about 1,230 miles east of the Windward Islands, moving west at 16 mph.

Isaac will make its way over the Lesser Antilles by Thursday morning and is expected to weaken to a tropical storm south of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola over the weekend.

"We will have to see if it tries to make a turn north next week," Bridges said.

Meanwhile, an area of low pressure has formed in the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

The hurricane center is giving it a 30 percent chance of further development in the next five days.

"We will watch this system as it's already bringing rain to South Florida," Bridges said. "The bottom line is we are getting moisture from this disturbance and we’re getting beach issues, including high seas and rip currents from Florence. The big question behind these two systems is whether Isaac will be a player for the Orlando area."

Sept. 10 is the peak of hurricane season.

Central Florida forecast

Highs will stay in the low 90s through Saturday, with rain chances at 40 percent for the rest of the week.

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