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Florida, Bahamas on high alert as Hurricane Dorian reaches Category 4 strength

More than 20 million Americans face the possibility of feeling impacts from Dorian

Dorian strengthened to a potentially devastating Category 4 hurricane Friday ahead of its expected U.S. landfall early next week, and is still gaining strength.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is “extremely dangerous” and poses a “significant life  threat” to Florida and the northwestern Bahamas.

government officials and residents in the United States and Bahamas continued to prepare for the potentially devastating storm that is forecast to unleash a three-pronged assault of extreme winds, devastating storm surge and  severe flooding.

Dorian is currently moving northwest at 10 mph (16 kph) with maximum sustained winds hitting 115 mph (185 kph).

More than 20 million Americans face the possibility of feeling impacts from Dorian, including about 3.7 million senior citizens, based on the current forecast.

Tropical storm-force winds could be felt in Florida as soon as Sunday, the service warned on Twitter.  It urged Floridians to “PREPARE NOW.”

Dorian is currently forecasted to slam into eastern Florida before heading north, though the exact point that it will make landfall remains uncertain.

Heavy rains are expected in Florida and others parts of the southeastern United States, in addition to the Bahamas, starting this weekend and continuing into the middle of next week.

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