Florence could threaten East Coast as a major hurricane this week

Florence's projected path the next five days (CNN Graphic)

(CNN) — More and more, Florence is looking like a storm that may give the US East Coast problems as a potentially major hurricane this week.

Tropical Storm Florence, currently in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,500 miles from the coast and 765 miles from Bermuda, is expected to strengthen into a hurricane later Sunday and gain power for days.

And computer models increasingly are showing it could be dangerously close to the United States late Thursday. The window for the storm to miss the US coast and turn harmlessly back to sea is closing, CNN forecasters said.

“It looks like now that (computer model) consensus really kind of puts it between Georgia and North Carolina,” though other states along the coast should watch as well, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said.

“If you live anywhere along the East Coast, you want to be paying attention, because even if you (aren’t at) the main landfall point, you’re still likely to have impacts,” including heavy rain and rip currents, she said.

Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina already are on alert. Their governors declared states of emergency Friday and Saturday.

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