U.S. and the Caribbean prepare for up to 4 tropical cyclones

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Authorities in the United States and the Caribbean are preparing for up to four tropical cyclones next week, including one which is heading for the U.S. East Coast and is expected to become a major hurricane.

Forecasters were monitoring seven tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and the Pacific on Friday evening, with at least one more expected to form this weekend. Five of those are a threat to land.

In the Atlantic, forecasters are monitoring Tropical Storm Florence, which is forecast to become a powerful category four hurricane by Wednesday afternoon as it approaches the U.S. East Coast.

“There is still very large uncertainty in model forecasts of Florence’s track beyond day 5, making it too soon to determine the exact location, magnitude, and timing of these impacts,” said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Authorities in several U.S. states have begun preparing for the possibility of a major hurricane, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon.

Forecasters are also monitoring Tropical Storm Mangkhut, which formed in the North Pacific Ocean earlier in the day. It is forecast to strengthen rapidly over the next few days, becoming a typhoon over the weekend and possibly reaching category four on Monday.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts Mangkhut will reach Guam and parts of the Northern Mariana Islands sometime on Tuesday local time. This could make it the strongest typhoon to hit Guam since Typhoon Pongsana in 2002.

“We can never be certain how strong or what direction a storm will take,” Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said on Friday. “Let’s not take any chances with our safety and let’s use this opportunity to prepare our homes.”

Forecasters are also keeping an eye on Tropical Depression Nine, which formed over the eastern Atlantic on Friday afternoon. The depression is forecast to strengthen and become a hurricane on approach to the Lesser Antilles, but it’s too early to predict the possible impact.

Meanwhile, Category 2 Hurricane Olivia is weakening over the Pacific Ocean as it moves closer to the Hawaiian islands. Forecasters say Olivia could reach the U.S. state on Wednesday morning, at which point it will likely have been downgraded to a tropical storm.

And then there’s Tropical Depression 8, which formed off Africa on early Friday morning. The system is expected to become a tropical storm soon as it nears the Cape Verde islands, which it is forecast to reach on late Saturday or early Sunday.

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