Miami: Dorian has intensified into a hurricane and is expected to continue strengthening during the next few days over the Atlantic waters, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday.
The storm was moving near St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands when its status changed, the National Hurricane Center said.
Virgin Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
"Dorian should continue to move near or over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands this afternoon and then move over the open Atlantic well east of the southeastern Bahamas," the NHC added.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is still struggling to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria, officials were reporting power outages and light rain by 12:30 p.m. EDT.
"Winds have picked up significantly. We're starting to get some of those heavier gusts," the governor's spokesman, Richard Motta, said in a telephone interview.
Many yet to recover from previous storms
It's a forecast that worries many in Puerto Rico because blue tarps still cover some 30,000 homes nearly two years after Hurricane Maria. The island's 3.2 million inhabitants also depend on an unstable power grid that remains prone to outages since it was destroyed by Maria, a Category 4 storm.
Ramonita Torres, a thin, stooped, 74-year-old woman lives by herself in the impoverished, flood-prone neighborhood of Las Monjas in the capital of San Juan. She was still trying to rebuild the home she nearly lost after Maria but was not able to secure the pieces of zinc that now serve as her roof.
"There's no money for that," she said, shaking her head.