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Hurricane Florence churns toward Bermuda as Gordon soaks U.S.

Last Updated Sep 6, 2018 6:20 PM EDT

Hurricane Florence, which had strengthened into the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, weakened to a Category 1 storm Thursday as it moved on a path toward Bermuda. As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph but was expected to reintensify Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. 

Large swells from Florence are expected to hit Bermuda starting Friday, and portions of the U.S. East Coast over the weekend. Life-threatening surf and rip tides are possible. 

There is great uncertainty about Florence's track beyond day 5. The eye of the hurricane was located 1,050 miles east-southeast of Bermuda as of 5 p.m. ET Thursday and the storm is moving northwest at 10 mph. 

Sustained winds have decreased from 130 mph Wednesday when Florence was classified as a Category 4 hurricane. 

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Hurricane Florence

NOAA

If Florence continues its current track across the Atlantic, it is likely to hit Bermuda. It should also miss Puerto Rico – located nearly 1,600 miles southwest – which started the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season with its electrical grid and other infrastructure still under repairs from Hurricane Maria last year. The situation was recently criticized in a federal report

Hurricane Florence Warnings and Watches

The National Hurricane Center has not yet issued any coastal watches or warnings as of their 5 p.m. ET advisory. But Florence is expected to generate potentially dangerous surf swells and rip current conditions that will begin to affect Bermuda by Friday.

Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm-force winds for Hurricane Florence
NOAA

In the U.S., Tropical Storm Gordon never became a hurricane but it was still deadly, killing a child in Florida by blowing a tree onto a mobile home as it made landfall. The storm later weakened into a depression on Wednesday but remained dangerous, dumping rain, spawning tornadoes and kicking up heavy surf in its wake.

The hurricane center said Gordon was weakening on a path into Arkansas after striking the coast at 70 mph, just shy of hurricane strength, near Pascagoula, Mississippi. The remnants will likely cause flash flooding across parts of seven states and as far north as Iowa in the coming days.