Hurricane Dorian: Florida residents preparing for "extremely dangerous" storm

Hurricane Dorian has now left the Caribbean Sea and it's predicted to intensify rapidly as it crosses the Atlantic on the way to Florida's central east coast

Rainfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are expected, with isolated amounts of 15 inches in the northwestern Bahamas, which may cause flash flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

And there were fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida's east coast in almost 30 years. The hurricane is likely to be a Category 3 off the northeastern Florida coast on Tuesday night and a Category 1 near North Carolina during Friday morning.

About one hour north up the Florida coast, residents in America's oldest city, St. Augustine, braced for the impacts.

Dorian's winds rose to 110 miles per hour, making it a top-end Category 2 hurricane.

Watches/Warnings/Threats: Various watches/warning are in effect for the Bahamas, Florida and as far north as SC.

Dorian is forecast to take a clockwise path around the outside of that high, which would send it directly toward Florida.

High pressure aloft will steer Dorian westward toward Florida this weekend.

As Dorian, the second hurricane of the Atlantic season, tracks north of the Bahamas later this week, it is expected to reach Category 4 hurricane strength before approaching the southeastern United States coast.

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The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the risk of "strong winds and life-threatening storm surge" will increase along the Georgia and SC coasts by the middle of next week. Forecasters warned that its slow movement means Florida could face a prolonged wallop of wind, storm surge and torrential rain.

Along with the risky winds, the storm was expected to drop 15 to 30cm of rain on USA coast, with some areas getting as much as 38cm.

"The biggest concern will be Dorian's slow motion when it is near Florida, placing some areas of the state at an increasing risk of a prolonged, drawn-out event of strong winds, risky storm surge, and heavy rainfall", the hurricane center said.

In North Carolina, a hurricane warning was issued for the coast of SC from north of Edisto Beach to the South Santee River while a hurricane watch was issued from north of South Santee River to Duck.

Though Dorian is growing in intensity, some of the more reliable computer models predicted a late turn northward that would have Dorian hug the coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

The risk of devastating hurricane-force winds along the Florida east coast and peninsula early next week has also increased, although it is too soon to determine where the strongest winds will occur.

The Hurricane Center urged residents of Florida to have their hurricane plan in place and follow the advice of local emergency officials.

Check back with weather.com for the latest on Hurricane Dorian.

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