Katia is now a hurricane and is expected to strengthen over the weekend. It's still predicted to pass the Lowcountry out to sea, but computer models late Wednesday continued to track it toward the Southeast coast through Monday before it turns north.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Katia has maximum sustained winds early Thursday near 75 mph (120 kph). It’s centered about 1,050 miles (1,685 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands and moving west near 18 mph (30 kph).

"A gradual turn toward the northwest with decreasing forward speed is likely," National Hurricane Center senior forecaster Richard Pasch said in website comments on the storm.

Frank Alsheimer, National Weather Service, Charleston, meteorologist said longer-term models and forecasts suggest the storm will pass somewhere near Bermuda late next week. But he encouraged residents and visitors to keep an eye on the storm.

"The odds are heavily in favor of that storm keeping east of the United States. Right now it's certainly nothing for us to worry about, but keep an interest in," Alsheimer said. "Any time we see a hurricane that far south we want to pay attention to it."

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at @bopete.