• Dorian continues to gain strength, expected to be major hurricane by Labor Day

    By: Severe Weather Team 2

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Tropical Storm Dorian was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane near the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon, and Severe Weather Team 2 says the hurricane is gaining strength.

    Late Wednesday evening, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency. 

    Severe Weather Team 2 is using the most advanced weather technology to bring you updates on the strengthening storm, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning, starting at 4:30 a.m.

    As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, Dorian continues to strengthen and is likely to threaten the United States as a major hurricane by Monday.

    [READ MORE: How does a hurricane form?]

    During a news conference Wednesday evening, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said over the next 24 hours, he hopes to have a clearer picture of Dorian's trajectory. 

    Kemp said state officials are already weighing considerations on how to potentially handle evacuation scenarios. 

    Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said the forecast brings the storm near Florida by late Sunday or early Monday. 

    [DOWNLOAD: WSB-TV's Weather App for alerts on the tropical storm]

    Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said the storm could become a major threat to the Southeast late this weekend and early next week -- from Florida to the Carolinas. New information shows the storm as a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, as it approaches the United States.

    Nitz said the Georgia coast is in the threat cone. He said landfall south of Georgia is most likely.

    Monahan said there's no need to panic, but he said, "This has the potential to be a significant hurricane approaching the Southeast coast in the next five to seven days."

    A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

    • Vieques and Culebra
    • U.S. Virgin Islands
    • British Virgin Islands
    • Puerto Rico

    A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

    • Puerto Rico

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