Dorian has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, carrying 75-mph winds as it neared Puerto Rico and struck the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center also warned Florida residents to prepare for an emergency since Dorian could grow into a dangerous Category 3 storm when it reaches the eastern U.S. coast over Labor Day weekend.
Puerto Rico was under a hurricane warning, but forecasters said the island would more likely see tropical storm conditions. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, hurricane conditions were ongoing Wednesday afternoon, with the eye of the storm over St. Thomas at 2 p.m, the agency said.
Hurricane conditions are also expected over the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico’s Culebra and Vieques islands.
Dorian’s maximum sustained winds have increased from 50 to 75 mph since Tuesday and the storm was moving northwest at 13 mph, according to the hurricane center.