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Forecasts now show Hurricane Dorian shifting north, putting Georgia, Carolinas at risk

Forecasts now show Hurricane Dorian shifting north, putting Georgia, Carolinas at risk

Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 4 storm Friday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center, and is heading across the Atlantic toward the Bahamas and the Florida coast.

Dorian has the potential to put millions of people at risk, along with holiday attractions such as Walt Disney World, the NASA launchpads along the Space Coast, and even President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

"People still need to take heed to the fact that as of now, the hurricane can bring winds of 125 miles per hour when the center reaches its highest proximity to the Florida coastline".

"Dorian is anticipated to remain an extremely unsafe major hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week", the NHC said.

The forecast track for Hurricane Dorian is uncertain, with some forecasting the weather system to not make as much of an impact on Florida as previously thought.

Forecasters now expect ever-strengthening Dorian to dance up the Southeast coastline, but stay just off shore of Florida.

Dorian is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. On Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center changed its forecast. Updated forecast tracks early Saturday morning suggest the hurricane's landfall could still happen in Florida, or could occur in Georgia or SC. US President Donald Trump has authorised the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts.

In Florida, life-threatening storm conditions are also possible along portions of the east coast of the state by early next week, but the NHC says that since Dorian is projected to slow down and turn northward as it approaches the coast, "it is too soon to determine when or where the highest surge and winds will occur".

New York City emergency responders were deployed to Florida on Friday night to help with preparations as Hurricane Dorian became a Category 4 storm.

Up to 10 inches of rain could fall along the Georgia and Carolina coasts, according the National Hurricane Center.

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"Even if doesn't directly strike Florida, this is a big powerful storm and you're still looking at really significant storm surge on the east coast of Florida, " he said.

Ron DeSantis (R) has declared a state of emergency for several counties in the hurricane's path.

Trump's comments came two days after former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell tweeted she was "rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!" "I don't know what I'm going to do".

As Dorian closed in, plans for the Labour Day weekend in the USA were upended. Major airlines began allowing travelers to change their reservations without a fee.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian began rerouting their cruise ships.

Schools and government offices remained closed across the Bahamas as the government warned that Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands probably would get the worst of the storm.

But some counties announced mandatory evacuations ahead of time on Friday. Brevard county and Martin county officials said residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas would be under a mandatory evacuation order beginning on Sunday morning.

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, NASA moved a 380-foot-high mobile launch platform to the safety of the colossal Vehicle Assembly Building, built to withstand 125 miles per hour (200 kph) wind.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation said hotels and resorts throughout that part of the island nation have activated hurricane response programmes, which typically include boarding up beach-facing windows and encouraging guests to leave.