Met Office issues Hurricane Helene 'risk to life' warning

Joyce forms in the Atlantic

Britain is bracing itself for strong winds and heavy rain as Hurricane Helene makes its way across the Atlantic. It should dissipate by early next week, the hurricane center said.

"In a couple of days, while the wind shear could decrease over the east-central Caribbean Sea, there might not be much of a system left to take advantage of the more conducive conditions".

Met Éireann said: "Current indications are that (ex-) tropical storm Helene will approach Ireland's south coast during Tuesday".

Federal states of emergency have been declared in all three states, and collectively about 1.5 million people have fled the coast under mandatory evacuation orders.

Helene, which has been downgraded from a hurricane, is among a glut of tropical storms brewing in the region, with mass evacuations under way in southern USA states as Hurricane Florence barrels across Virginia and the Carolinas. "This storm is extremely unsafe". Its winds could approach Category 5 strength, which means winds of 157 miles per hour (253 kph) or higher.

Subtropical Storm Joyce is located 945 miles west-southwest of the Azores and is moving to the southwest at 6 mph (9 km/h). It is expected to continue on a westward path toward the islands.

Latest Isaac tropical storm image from Harry Halstrom, Pond Hill forecaster.

Emma Smith of the Met Office added: "Helene is moving up from the Atlantic towards us". While early on Wednesday the odds of it forming dropped, by afternoon forecasters had again increased the chance to 70 percent over two days.

A Tropical Storm Watch which had been issued for St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Barbuda and Antigua was also expected to be discontinued by Thursday evening.

Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km), mainly to the north of the center.

"Heavy and long-lasting rainfall could lead to catastrophic flooding in inland parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia".

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