Hurricane Dorian takes aim at Florida

(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

Dorian, now a hurricane, has intensified and developed an eye, setting its sights on the eastern coast of Florida over the Labor Day weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The cyclone will be a Category 3 storm within 72 hours as it heads to the northwest over warm Atlantic waters, a favorable environment with low wind-shear potential. There it is expected to encounter a strong ridge of high pressure and veer to the west-northwest toward Florida. The storm is expected to maintain a Category 3 intensity until it makes landfall.

Flash flooding is still possible from heavy rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through Thursday morning.

Dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds are forecast to threaten the northwest Bahamas and the east coast of Florida later this week, although the exact timing is difficult to determine. Heavy rain is also expected more widely in the southeastern U.S. later this week and early next week.