Dorian strengthens and expected to become dangerous hurricane

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hurricane Dorian strengthened late Wednesday night as it continues to move away from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Dorian, a category 1 hurricane with now 85 mph winds, is expected to intensify as it moves away from the Caribbean and continue on a northwesterly path over the next two days.

For Thursday afternoon, Dorian is anticipated to have 90 mph winds as it moves over warm water with less wind shear and high pressure to the north.

They’re all ingredients for the hurricane to grow possibly into a category 2 or category 3 hurricane, according to Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh.

Forecast models show the system northeast of the Bahamas as a category 3 hurricane Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a very troubling forecast track for the folks certainly in Florida as it continues to head towards the state maybe as a category 3 into Sunday and Labor Day,” Walsh said.

Forecasters stress the projected forecast models stretch hundreds of miles off the center of the track, and where Dorian goes will all depend on a ridge to the north that’s helping to drive this storm.

With a strong ridge in the mix, Dorian will head into Florida.

However if the ridge weakens, it could open up Georgia and the South Carolina coast.

“We are watching that placement and the strength of that ridge which will be very important to where Dorian eventually turns up,” Walsh said.

As of Wednesday, the model consensus is pretty good at taking the storm towards central Florida, but that can certainly change as we’re still five days out.

At 11:00 p.m., the center of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 19.7 North, longitude 66.0 West.

Dorian is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Friday.

“On this track, Dorian should move over the Atlantic well east of the southeastern and central Bahamas on Thursday and Friday,” National Hurricane Center officials said late Wednesday night.

Forecasters say Dorian is expected to strengthen into a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days.

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