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Nasa watches as Hurricane Dorian grows to monstrous size over the Atlantic

Nasa has released a stunning image showing the moment Dorian officially became a hurricane.

The storm was declared to be a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday when it swirled through the islands of the northeastern Caribbean, causing power outages and flooding in places but doing no major damage.

‘Hurricane conditions are expected in the US and British Virgin Islands, Culebra, and Vieques,’ Nasa wrote yesterday.

‘Tropical storm conditions are expected in Puerto Rico today with hurricane conditions possible.

Heavy rainfall over portions of Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands could produce flash flooding during the next couple of days. Heavy rains are expected to occur over portions of the Bahamas, Florida, and elsewhere in the southeastern United States later this week and into early next week.

‘The risk of dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds is increasing in the central and northwestern Bahamas and along the Florida east coast, although it is too soon to determine where these hazards will occur. Residents in these areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place and not focus on the exact forecast track of Dorian’s centre.’

Hurricane Dorian moved out over open waters early on Thursday after doing limited damage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, though forecasters warned it was gaining strength and probably would grow into a dangerous storm while heading toward the northern Bahamas and Florida’s east coast.

The US National Hurricane Center said Dorian was expected to strengthen into a dangerous Category 3 hurricane as it stayed well to the east of the southeastern and central Bahamas over the next two days.

The forecast called for the storm to pass near or over the northern Bahamas on Saturday and close in on Florida by Sunday afternoon.

Dorian caused an islandwide blackout in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and scattered power outages in St. Croix, government spokesman Richard Motta said. In addition, the storm downed trees and at least one electric pole in St. Thomas, he said, adding that there were no reports of major flooding.

‘We are grateful that it wasn’t a stronger storm,’ he said.

There were no reports of serious damage in the British Virgin Islands

Dennis Feltgen, a Hurricane Center meteorologist in Miami, said earlier that Dorian would strengthen and could hit anywhere from South Florida to South Carolina.

‘This will be a large storm approaching the Southeast,’ he said.

People in Florida were starting to get ready for a possible Labor Day weekend strike, with county governments along Florida’s east-central coast distributing sandbags and many residents rushing to warehouse retailers to load up on water, canned food and emergency supplies.

‘All Floridians on the East Coast should have 7 days of supplies, prepare their homes & follow the track closely,’ Governor Ron DeSantis said in a tweet.

Later on Wednesday, he declared a state of emergency for the counties in the storm’s path.

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