Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2 storm, is forecasted to become a major hurricane Friday.
Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2 storm, is forecasted to become a major hurricane Friday. (NOAA)

Hurricane Dorian has become a Category 3 storm, the National Hurricane Center announced Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, the major hurricane – which has maximum sustained winds blowing at 115 mph – was centered about 625 miles east of West Palm Beach, moving northwest at 10 mph.

“If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that’s a big deal,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told the Associated Press. “A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims.”

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday had bumped up the possible strength of Dorian to a Category 4 storm with sustained winds between 130 and 156 mph off the Florida coast. Hurricane watches are currently in effect for portions of the Bahamas, while the storm is predicted to slam into the U.S. on Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia.

“There is an increasing likelihood of a prolonged period of hazardous weather conditions that could last for a couple of days in parts of Florida early next week,” the NHC said Friday.

President Trump on Friday approved an emergency declaration for Florida and “ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Dorian,” the White House said.

Officials also are continuing to warn Florida residents that the risk of “life-threatening storm surge” and “devastating hurricane-force winds” along its east coast is increasing, but it’s too early to tell which communities will be hit the hardest.

“Regardless of the exact track of Dorian, heavy rains are expected to occur over portions of the Bahamas, Florida, and elsewhere in the southeastern United States this weekend and into the middle of next week,” the NHC added.

The U.S. Navy on Friday ordered dozens of its warships and aircraft to evacuate two bases in northeast Florida in the Jacksonville area, Fox News confirmed.

You can read more at the Source here: https://www.foxnews.com/us/hurricane-dorian-nears-category-3-status