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However it's still expected to be at or near hurricane strength by the time it reaches the Lesser Antilles. On the forecast track, Helene will pass very close to the southern Cabo Verde Islands tonight and early Sunday.

Still said it been "quite some time" since a storm of Florence's magnitude had approached Southeastern North Carolina. "Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".

A Hurricane Warning has been issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Any Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane is classified as a major hurricane.

SC declared a state of emergency on Saturday. The models can, and probably will continue to change over the next few days.

"This is a life-threatening situation", forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said.

Some computer models predicted Wilmington area south of the Outer Banks, but it was still too early to predict an exact path for the storm. As Florence's path moves closer to the US coastline in the next week Florence is expected to regain category three hurricane status tonight. One year after historic storms that ravaged the American Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico last year, officials warned not to underestimate the threat the storm poses. People in coastal communities are taking all precautions.

Generators, bottled water and snacks were flying off the shelves of area retailers over the weekend as forecasts called for higher chances that Hurricane Florence could hit the area.

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The hurricane's path was still far from certain Monday. Forecasters predicted it would become a risky Category 4 storm before a possible landfall Friday.

"I don't think we're quite done yet", he said, "but certainly as far as September goes, this is the big week". The station, the largest naval complex in the world, said in a Facebook post that much of the base is prone to heavy flooding, especially the parking lots adjacent to the waterfront.

Florence's effects were already being felt along the coast, with risky swells and rip currents in some spots.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the storm was moving westward at 6 miles per hour. A west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected by Monday, and that motion is forecast to continue through mid-week, Met Service said.

Winds within Florence are up to 140 miles per hour and is moving off to the WNW at 15 miles per hour. The storm could bring 2-4 inches of rain to those islands, risking flash floods.

The NHC predicts it could become a major hurricane by Monday and remain that way through Thursday. Florence has been moving more toward the west and slightly northwest, potentially making direct landfall coming in from the east.

At this point, it appears like it will be moving into the Central Caribbean by the middle to end of the week as Hurricane Isaac. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds and some rain bands will likely begin Wednesday night, regardless of the actual landfall of the storm.