(NBC NEWS) — The latest forecast on Hurricane Dorian shows the powerful storm will strengthen over the coming days and has the potential to become a Category 4 as it barrels toward the southeastern United States over the next three days.
The National Hurricane Center forecast Thursday morning that Hurricane Dorian in 72 hours could reach maximum winds of 130 mph, putting it at a Category 4.
Dorian was about 370 miles east of the Bahamas and expected to move over the Atlantic east of the island on Thursday and Friday, according to the hurricane center.
It was then expected to move near or over parts of the northwest Bahamas on Sunday.
"The risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-forcewinds this weekend continues to increase in the northwestern Bahamas, and hurricane watches could be issued there tonight or Friday," the hurricane center said. "Residents should have their hurricane plan in place and listen to advice given by local emergency officials."
Hurricane Dorian brings heavy rain, strong winds to Caribbean Sea islandsAUG. 29, 201901:00It’s still too soon to tell exactly where the storm will make landfall along Florida’s east coast, but the center added "there is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida east coast late this weekend or early next week."
RecommendedU.S. NEWSMan arrested in fatal stabbing of dog walker in Washington, D.C.U.S. NEWS16-year-old New York girl missing for days after flying to London is found safe, man arrestedDorian’s maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph Thursday morning, according to the center.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that Floridians should be prepared “and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!”
The hurricane swept by the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday with few casualties and little confirmed damage were reported in the Caribbean. The sole confirmed casualty was the death of a man that police in Bayamón confirmed to NBC News was connected to Dorian.
Police told Telemundo PR, the San Juan affiliate of NBC News' Spanish-language network, that the 80-year-old man was climbing a ladder to clear drains at his home in preparation for the storm when he slipped and fell, sustaining a fatal head injury.