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But forecasters said that the risk of "direct impacts continues to increase" and that a huge coastal area from northern Florida to North Carolina should prepare for a major hit by Thursday. The storm is moving west at 7 miles per hour.

"All indications are that Florence will be an extremely risky Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States", the NHC said.

Anticipating Florence could directly hit the U.S. Southeast late this week, forecasters urged residents from SC to the mid-Atlantic to get ready - and not just for a direct blow against the coast.

Florence is officially a hurricane churning off the Eastern U.S. and the latest tracks have shifted to a bit north, but South Carolinians should continue to prepare for a major storm headed toward our shores, state officials said Sunday.

South Carolina's governor says residents should count on "a lot of wind and a lot of rain" from Hurricane Florence this week.

After 2016's Hurricane Matthew devastated inland areas of the state, Cooper said people need to be prepared for inland flooding from heavy rain.

The governor held a press conference Sunday afternoon alongside state emergency response officials to update the state on the potential impacts Hurricane Florence can have on SC.

Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence was expected to regain hurricane strength as it neared Bermuda.

The Navy planned to send ships from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia out to sea. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release Saturday that the ships will get ready in anticipation of getting under way Monday to avoid storm damage. The forecast is constantly changing with each new model run so don't assume what you read today will hold true Tuesday or Wednesday.

According to The Washington Post, if Florence hits the U.S. East Coast, it will be the first to do so for a storm in its present location.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the hurricane center said Florence's maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 miles per hour (110 kph). The storm was centered about 765 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph, according to The Associated Press.

A third weather disturbance, Tropical Storm Isaac, was also expected to intensify into a hurricane by Monday.

At the same time, Florence was centred 1160 km southeast of Bermuda while the centre of Helene was located 230 km southwest of the Southernmost Cabo Verde Islands.