Hurricane Dorian could hit Florida as Category 4

Hurricane Dorian was forecast to continue strengthening over the coming days and has the potential to become a Category 4 as it barrels towards 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."

It’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."

Dorian’s maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph Thursday morning, according to the center.

Related: Aerial photos show Hurricane Michael’s impact

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Aerial photos show Hurricane Michael's impact
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Aerial photos show Hurricane Michael's impact
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
People walk past homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla. The devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael came into focus Thursday with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and rescue crews began making their way into the stricken areas in hopes of accounting for hundreds of people who may have stayed behind. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
A home is destroyed from Hurricane Michael Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla. Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Damaged houses are seen during a U.S. Coast Guard aerial assessment of coastal areas affected by Hurricane Michael near Apalachicola, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
A capsized boat is seen during a U.S. Coast Guard aerial assessment of coastal areas affected by Hurricane Michael near Apalachicola, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
A boat yard is seen during a U.S. Coast Guard aerial assessment of coastal areas affected by Hurricane Michael near Apalachicola, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
A roof over a boat storage building is collapsed following Hurricane Michael Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Panama City Beach, Fla. Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
An industrial area is seen during a U.S. Coast Guard aerial assessment of coastal areas affected by Hurricane Michael near Apalachicola, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP)
Debris from Hurricane Michael fills a lot Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla. Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Homes washed away by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla. Michael made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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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.

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