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Florence is now 1,600 miles from the East Coast and moving toward Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

With an eye on Hurricane Florence, governors in Virginia, North Carolina and SC have declared states of emergency, warning residents to prepare for a unsafe storm.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph), Florence ranked as a Category 1 hurricane and was expected to get larger as it develops by Monday into a major hurricane, defined as Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

Almost all of the North Carolina and SC coasts are included in the cone of uncertainty for the storm and the latest model Saturday night showed the storm making landfall in Wilmington.

Landfall is expected in the Carolinas later this week, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly, but steadily, toward the U.S. East Coast, and its latest forecast path takes it directly toward the Carolinas.

Hurricane Florence on Sunday had winds moving at 75 mph, and was 750 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving west at 6 mph.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Oosterwyk was gathering important papers including tax documents from her store on Monday, and said she planned to drive 150 miles (240 km) inland to Cary to ride the storm out.

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Any small change to the storm's current track could affect its path and impact, though, and it's still early, James Murrow, National Weather Service Raleigh forecaster, said in a Sunday briefing.

"We are in the bull's-eye", North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told a news conference Monday. "If you see a business taking advantage of this storm, please let my office know so we can hold them accountable", Stein said.

As Florence gathered strength far out in the Atlantic, Wall Street was trying to pick winners and losers from any havoc it might cause.

Elsewhere in the tropics, officials say Tropical Storm Helene is approaching islands off the western coast of Africa.

By comparison, Hurricane Matthew was a weak Category 1 storm when it hit Columbus County in 2016.

Tropical Storm Helene is in the Far Eastern Atlantic, just off the African Coast.

The biggest threats include flooding and damaging winds. The state Emergency Management Division said residents should begin preparing their homes and property for the storm.

The U.S. Navy is making preparations this weekend for its ships in the Hampton Roads area to leave port.