Dorian has been upgraded to a hurricane. (GP)
Dorian was upgraded to a hurricane earlier today and sections of the northern Caribbean are bracing for the accompanying high winds and heavy rain.
At 2 p.m., the National Hurricane Centre upgraded Dorian from a tropical storm, and three hours later, a hurricane warning was placed in effect for the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra, the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning are in effect for Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Dorian is moving towards the northwest at 14 miles per hour (mph) or 22 km/h. At 5 p.m., the apparent eye was located near latitude 18.8 North, longitude 65.5 West, or 45 miles (70km) northwest of St Thomas, with maximum sustained winds of almost 80 mph (130km/h) with higher gusts.
Dorian is forecast to strengthen and become a powerful hurricane during the next few days over the Atlantic waters. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 997mb
On this track, Dorian should move away from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during the next several hours and then move over the Atlantic, well east of the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday and Friday.
It is expected to produce the rainfall accumulations ranging from one to 10 inches and this may cause life-threatening flash floods.
The risk of dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds later this week and this weekend continues to increase in the central and northwestern Bahamas and along the Florida east coast, although it is too soon to determine where these hazards will occur. Residents in these areas should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and not focus on the exact forecast track of Dorian’s centre. (PR/SAT)