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ATLANTA (CBS/AP) — Tropical Storm Florence turned into a hurricane Sunday morning and swirled toward the U.S. for what forecasters said could be a direct hit on the Southeast toward the end of the week.

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The storm’s sustained winds reached 75 mph, just over the threshold for a hurricane, as it made its way across the Atlantic, about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving west at 6 mph.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Florence to a hurricane in its 11 a.m. report and issues issued more advisories in the Atlantic for two other tropical storms expected at the heels of Florence – Helene, which is expected to become a hurricane soon, and Isaac, which also is strengthening.

weatherapp philly 300x173 Florence Becomes Hurricane, Could Threaten East Coast This Week

“There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from prolonged heavy rainfall event inland,” tweeted the hurricane center when it released its reports.

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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 South Carolina to the mid-Atlantic region should prepare for a major strike late in the week.

“All indications are that Florence will be an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States,” the hurricane center said.

Officials in the Carolinas warned residents to prepare and to brace for impact.

Governors in both South Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency Saturday to give their states time to prepare for the possible arrival of the storm. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster emphasized that there’s no way to know yet when and where the storm will hit land, or when evacuations might be called.

On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and urged residents to use the weekend to prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster.

“We are entering the peak of hurricane season and we know well the unpredictability and power of these storms,” Cooper said.

The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port. The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release Saturday that the ships will get ready in anticipation of getting underway Monday to avoid storm damage.

Adm. Christopher Grady said in a statement that the decision was based on Florence’s current track, which indicates the area could see strong sustained winds and storm surges.

The news release notes that plans could change if forecasts indicate a decrease in the strength or change in the track of the storm.

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Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and starting to reach parts of the Eastern Seaboard, the National Weather Service said.

At 5 a.m. EDT, the hurricane center said Florence’s maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 70 mph (110 kph). The storm was centered about 765 miles (1,235 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and moving west at 6 mph (9 kph).

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)