There’s a lot of concern about the effect that Hurricane Florence could have on our area in the coming days, but at this point, it’s too soon to know if our area would face any direct impacts from the system.

So here’s what you need to know about the storm today:

1. FLORENCE'S CURRENT LOCATION
Florence is located about 840 miles southeast of Bermuda on Saturday morning. It currently a tropical storm (with sustained winds around 65 mph), but it is expected to gradually restrengthen over the weekend as it passes through the very warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Florence is likely to reach hurricane strength by Sunday, and it is forecast to the strength of a major hurricane (above a category three in strength) early next week.

2. FLORENCE'S FORECAST TRACK
The storm is still thousands of miles away, and obviously, a lot can change. At this point, however, the National Hurricane Center says that the risk of a direct impact from the storm for the East Coast is continuing to increase.

National Hurricane Center

The current forecast shows the storm as a major hurricane off the East Coast on Thursday morning. The exact location and track will continue to change, but right now New Jersey is NOT in the cone for the storm’s initial landfall. That cone can and will change in the coming days.

Current forecast models show a range of possibilities (as shown below), but most are CURRENTLY centered around the possibility of a landfall on the Carolina coast.

South Florida Water Management District

3. HURRICANE FLORENCE WILL CREATE RIP CURRENTS
The large swells from the storm will begin affecting the East coast later this weekend. By early next week (Monday or Tuesday) they will certainly be felt off the New Jersey beaches. This will result in the life-threatening surf and rip currents.

In short, don’t go into the ocean until the storm has passed because of the risk of rip currents.

Even if the storm doesn't make landfall in our area, it could bring heavy rain and winds to our area. It never hurts to be prepared by looking at these tips from the National Hurricane Center.