Hurricane Dorian now expected to reach Category 4 strength ahead of US landfall

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The latest forecast for Hurricane Dorian shows the storm strengthening to a Category 4 ahead of making landfall in Florida.

Dorian is currently a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds at 85 miles an hour and gusts at 105 miles per hour.

Thursday morning, the storm is located north of Puerto Rico.

The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center increased the predicted strength of Dorian to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. The storm is expected to reach that strength ahead of making landfall somewhere along the Florida coast.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about when and where Dorian will ultimately make landfall, but the most likely candidates as of Thursday morning are a landfall Monday morning along the Florida or Georgia coast.
ABC11 Meteorologist Don “Big Weather” Schwenneker said the storm could still hit anywhere from the Florida Keys to south Georgia.

“Long ways to go in this forecast, so far it stays south and we (North Carolina) do not take a hit from this hurricane,” Big Weather said.

However, Dorian will likely still bring some rain to North Carolina.

“Eventually all that moisture turns north. So I do think we’ll see at least some rainfall from this, mid to late week next week,” Big Weather said.

With it being hurricane season, there’s nothing wrong with hoping for the best and being prepared for the worst. Here are the things Big Weather says you should have in your hurricane emergency kit.

Duke Energy is staying prepared and vigilant.

The utility company serves customers in Florida and the Carolinas. Company leaders said they are closely monitoring the storm and preparing to decide where to deploy crews.

“I think you’ll see us make a decision in the next day or two on whether we’re moving crews, because I do know we typically want to have those crews in place ahead of the storm,” Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks said.

Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands

Hurricane Dorian moved out over open waters early Thursday after doing limited damage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The storm was a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday when it swirled through the islands of the northeastern Caribbean, causing power outages and flooding in places but doing no major damage.

“We’re happy because there are no damages to report,” said William Solís, the mayor of the small Puerto Rican island of Culebra. He said only one community lost power.

Dorian caused an islandwide blackout in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and scattered power outages in St. Croix, government spokesman Richard Motta said. In addition, the storm downed trees and at least one electric pole in St. Thomas, he said, adding that there were no reports of major flooding.

“We are grateful that it wasn’t a stronger storm,” he said.

There were no reports of serious damage in the British Virgin Islands, where Gov. Augustus Jaspert said crews were already clearing roads and inspecting infrastructure by late Wednesday afternoon.

Copyright © 2019 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.