ORLANDO, Fla. - Tropical Storm Dorian continues to gain strength Monday and the latest track shows Central Florida in its path.
As of 11 p.m. Monday, the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was 95 miles east southest of St. Lucia and moving west-northwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm is expected to continue in that direction until Tuesday night. Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center predict it will make a turn toward the northwest Wednesday.
The latest cone shows Central Florida in its path with outer bands hitting the Sunshine State as early as Saturday. By then, it's expected to have maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. Marion and Sumter counties are the only two in Central Florida that are not yet included in the cone of uncertainty but likely will be by Tuesday morning.
"We're still six days away, but it is time to be concerned," News 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells said.
Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Dorian is expected to be a hurricane when it moves near Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola Wednesday morning.
The pressure of the storm went up slightly during the 11 p.m. update, according to Sorrells.
The 5 p.m. track showed Dorian becoming a Category 1 hurricane earlier than the previous update. The update also showed Dorian as a tropical storm near the Bahamas as it makes its way toward Florida.
A hurricane watch has been issued for St. Lucia, and the government of France has upgraded the tropical storm watch to a tropical storm warning for Martinique.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
As of 5 p.m., a tropical storm watch was in effect for Dominica, Grenada and its dependencies, Saba and St. Eustatius and Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to News 6 meteorologist Samara Cokinos, the 5 p.m. forecast takes Dorian close to southern portions of Puerto Rico and toward Hispaniola as a Category 1 hurricane.
"After exiting Hispaniola, the National Hurricane Center forecasts show Dorian still as a strong tropical storm as it heads toward the Bahamas and eventually to Florida," Cokinos said.
Hispaniola is a mountainous region that could weaken the storm, but the system could redevelop as it treks toward Florida, according to News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges.
"It looks like it will then move into the Bahamas by the weekend," Bridges said. "After that, there’s a chance they could redevelop as it is closer to Florida. We have plenty of time to watch the storm, but everyone should be prepared, just in case."
Hurricane season runs through November, with the peak around Sept. 10.
The next named storm will be called Erin.
After a mostly dry, hot weekend, there will be an increased chance of rain Monday in Central Florida.
Expect a 70% coverage of afternoon showers and storms, with a high of 94. The average high on this date is 91.
"There is a stalled boundary in north Florida and south Georgia that will act as a focal point, as well as more moisture in place, that will lead to scattered showers and storms," Bridges said.
Rain chances stand at 60% from Tuesday through Friday.
Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.
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