Tropical Storm Florence closer to East Coast, could be major hurricane

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Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical storm overnight but continues to creep closer to the United States is expected to regain strength as it nears the East Coast. USA TODAY

Florence, the swirl of clouds at the center of this satellite image from early Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, continues to slowly move toward the U.S. East Coast. Two other tropical systems are also spinning in the central and eastern Atlantic (right.)(Photo: NOAA)

Tropical Storm Florence, now spinning some 1,500 miles from North Carolina's Outer Banks, "is forecast to be a dangerous major hurricane near the southeast U.S. coast by late next week," the National Hurricane Center said Saturday. 

It should become a hurricane later Saturday as its winds increase above 74 mph.

Meanwhile, the remnants of what was Tropical Storm Gordon will soak portions of the Midwest and East on Saturday and into Sunday, likely leading to widespread and dangerous flooding.

"Many areas in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana will continue to see a risk of flooding during the day Saturday," said AccuWeather meteorologist Ryan Adamson. Some spots could see a half-foot of rain over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Over 50 million people live where a flood watch or warning is in effect, mainly in the Midwest and in Texas. 

As for Florence, the hurricane center said Saturday morning that "gradual restrengthening is forecast over the weekend."

Storm Tracker: See Florence's projected path

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