Dorian upgraded to Category 3 hurricane

Hurricane Dorian has strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it barrels toward Florida, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced Friday afternoon. 

The NHC said the hurricane is expected to begin a “slower west-northwestward to westward motion” starting Friday night, meaning it could continue to strengthen as it makes its way to the U.S. mainland. It is expected to hit the Florida coast by late Monday.

Data from a reconnaissance plane shows that maximum sustained winds have increased to nearly 115 mph, with hurricane-force gusts extending outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 105 miles.

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“Additional strengthening is forecast, and Dorian is anticipated to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week,” the NHC said. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisTrump parts ways with key Florida adviser: report Death and destruction: A timeline of Hurricane Dorian How to take politics beyond charges of racism MORE (R) has already declared a state of emergency, asking residents of to prepare themselves with at least seven days' worth of supplies. He’s also asked President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE to declare a pre-landfall disaster for all of the Sunshine State’s 67 counties.

“This declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government, as well as free up funding sources for emergency protective measures,” he wrote in a letter to the White House. 

Dorian has already passed through the U.S. Virgin Islands and narrowly avoided Puerto Rico. It is expected to hit the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday prior to making landfall in Florida, according to the NHC.