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Tropical Storm Florence Forms

September 12, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ Tropical Storm Florence, which barely moved overnight after forming southeast of North Carolina, could reach hurricane strength as early as Tuesday morning, forecasters said.

The system was not expected to pose any threat to the continental United States through Friday, the outer limit of the forecast by the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 5 a.m. EDT, the sixth named storm of the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season was about 385 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras and 500 miles west-southwest of Bermuda.

The storm’s movement was being blocked by high pressure overhead, but in a few days a low pressure trough with west-southwesterly winds was expected to push Florence far away from land, hurricane specialist Richard Pasch said Tuesday.

``We’re not forecasting it to be a threat to the United States,″ he said. ``I think the people along the coast just need to keep an eye on it.″

Florence had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph. A hurricane hunter aircraft was to investigate the system Tuesday morning, after which time it could be upgraded to a hurricane, Pasch said. A hurricane forms when winds reach 75 mph.

``It could intensify a little bit,″ Pasch said. ``It’s very close.″

Boaters should keep an eye on the system, which was expected to produce heavy surf and rip currents along the southeast U.S. Coast and Bermuda, forecasters said.

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On the Net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

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