Florence, the first major Atlantic hurricane of the year, could pose a threat to US East Coast

Florence was no longer a major hurricane Thursday afternoon.

Posted Updated

Elizabeth Gardner
, WRAL meteorologist

Florence was no longer a major hurricane Thursday afternoon.

It became the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season Wednesday and reached Category 4 strength late in the day.

It has weakened to a Category 2 storm Thursday afternoon, and that will continue for the next few days.

But by early next week, it may be a major hurricane again.

Computer models show a wide range of storm tracks, but the general direction is toward the United States East Coast. It’s likely to be steered by a ridge of high pressure over the Northeast.

At this point, it’s too early to know exactly where the storm will go. WRAL meteorologists will keep monitoring the storm in the Weather Center.

If the storm ends up affecting the U.S. coast, it would likely be the middle of next week.

Behind Florence, there are two more waves moving off the coast of Africa and into the Atlantic, which could become tropical systems.

We are in the peak of the hurricane season through the middle of this month.

While it's certainly not time to press the panic button, — the models likely will change significantly over the next week to 10 days — Florence definitely bears watching closely.

The focus on Florence comes less than a day after Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall on the US Gulf Coast, leaving one child dead and ushering storms through Monday across the western South and the Midwest.

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