BEAUMONT, Texas — The National Hurricane Center's latest advisory says Dorian is forecast to strengthen and become a powerful hurricane during the next few days over the Atlantic waters.
It's gradually moving away from the northeastern Caribbean Sea, and is expected to become a 'dangerous hurricane' in the western Atlantic according to the NHC.
Dorian is 45 miles northwest of St. Thomas and its winds have strengthened to 80 mph. It's currently moving northwest at 14 mph.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Vieques and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Puerto Rico.
Dorian is expected to continue to move near or over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during the next several hours and move over the Atlantic well east of the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday and Friday. The Bahamas will be bypassed for the most part.
The storm is then expected to strengthen and will head toward Florida into Sunday and Monday, and could become a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph before reaching Florida. The forecast is still expected to change a good deal.
Threat to Southeast Texas?
Dorian could move into the gulf Tuesday. The steering pattern shows high pressure over Texas and in the southwest Atlantic. A weakness over Alabama and an upper-level disturbance in the Ohio River Valley should pull it north next Wednesday or Thursday per the European model.
The storm could end up as far west as New Orleans or as far east as the panhandle of Florida.
It it reaches New Orleans, Southeast Texas could see breezy weather. At this point, damaging conditions are not expected locally.
If the system were to move into the Gulf, it wouldn't happen until this weekend. So, there's plenty of time to track this storm. The 12News Storm Team will be posting updates over the next several days as we continue watching Dorian.