(WSAV) — A hurricane watch has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas as Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane sometime on Friday.
As of 5 a.m. EDT, Dorian is a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 105 miles per hour, with higher gusts.
Hurricanes rated as Category 3 (sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour) or higher are considered major.
Dorian is moving over the Atlantic Ocean toward the northwest near 12 miles per hour, and that motion is expected to continue throughout Friday.
Friday night and through the weekend, a slower west-northwestward to westward motion is forecast as Dorian moves toward the eastern coast of Florida, where it could potentially make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.
In terms of direct impact from Dorian, residents of coastal Georgia and South Carolina will not have to worry about holiday weekend plans being spoiled.
If Dorian were to affect these areas, the impacts wouldn’t arrive until the middle of or late next week.
Dorian is currently located about 260 miles east-northeast of the southern Bahamas and about 530 miles east of the northwestern portion of the island, where the hurricane watch is in effect.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within that particular area.
Usually, watches are issued 48 hours before it is first expected that tropical-storm-force winds will impact an area.
Those conditions can make outdoor hurricane preparations difficult or dangerous.
Dorian’s path shows that it will likely move near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday.
It’s also likely that Dorian will remain an extremely dangerous hurricane as it shifts toward the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through Labor Day weekend.
That area of the Bahamas could experience dangerous storm surge that could produce significant coastal flooding.
In the meantime, residents of southern and central Florida are advised to keep an eye on Dorian’s progress as the storm slowly progresses toward Florida’s coast.