Hurricane Florence seen over the Atlantic Ocean, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda in this handout photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on September 9, 2018. A hurricane becomes a major (category 3) hurricane once winds reach 111 miles per hour.
The governors of North and SC and Virginia declared states of emergency to give them time to prepare, and the Navy said ships in Virginia's Hampton Roads area would leave port for their own safety.
Winds in Florence are now at 90 miles per hour, making it a category 1 hurricane. The storm is expected to become more powerful by Monday and will become a major Hurricane. "Presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of SC".
The Miami-based center said that it was still too early to predict the hurricane's exact path but that a huge coastal area from SC to the mid-Atlantic region should prepare for a major strike late in the week.
In South Carolina, Charleston city officials were offering sandbags for residents to fill.
Carnival Cruise Line said Sunday that it had changed the schedule of its cruise ships to accommodate tropical weather threats. Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune urged residents to secure their homes, but said it's too early to know if evacuations will be ordered.
Florida-based Carnival Cruise Line re-routed its cruise ships. Carnival Pride was scheduled to leave Baltimore and head to Bermuda during a week-long cruise.
Carnival Cruise Line has made a decision to cancel the secluded port of call in San Juan Puerto Rico for the Carnival Horizon. Instead the ship will now head to The Bahamas.
Hurricane Florence gaining strength as it heads toward US coast
A third tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Cooper urged residents to "review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now".
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also urged his state's residents to get ready, noting the storm already was generating swelling waves and risky currents along the coast.
McMaster said he had asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal emergency in SC in anticipation of the storm's arrival.
"The National Hurricane Center said Florence had re-strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Sunday as it was located about 710 miles (1,142 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda".
Florence is not now expected to impact metro Atlanta, as the storm is now forecast to remain northeast of the area.
The storm's maximum sustained winds remain near 85 km/h with higher gusts and it is moving west near 15 km/h.
At the same time, the Met Service said Helene is moving towards the west near 22 km/h, and this motion is expected to continue through today. "We expect it to be a major hurricane when it makes landfall by Thursday night or early Friday".More news: Woods, Mickelson, DeChambeau selected to U.S. Ryder Cup team