MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Dorian (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

A major, Category 4 hurricane is continuing to track toward the Bahamas, threatening the islands with devastating amounts of rain, dangerous storm surge, and extremely high winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says maximum sustained winds of powerful Hurricane Dorian stood at 150 mph (240 kph) as of about 2 p.m. EDT Saturday - just slightly less than the 157 mph wind speed that constitutes a catastrophic Category 5 storm.

Dorian’s center was 205 miles (325 kilometers) east of the Great Abaco in the Bahamas and 385 miles (625 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. It was expected to be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday.

The storm was traveling west at 8 mph (13 kph) and was expected to move near the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday.

12:25 p.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina after the latest forecast for Hurricane Dorian increased the threat to the state.

The emergency declaration makes it easier to get federal help and let state agencies coordinate possible evacuations or other preparations.

No evacuations have been ordered. McMaster and emergency officials are monitoring the forecasts to see if they push Dorian farther out to sea. They plan a 5 p.m. Saturday conference call for a full update.

The sounds of hammers and cash registers echoed across the Bahamas as the archipelago that lies just southeast of Florida rushed to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

Hurricanes have caused coastal evacuations in South Carolina in each of the past three years.

The latest forecast says Dorian is expected to stay just off shore of Florida and skirt the coast of Georgia, with the possibility of landfall still a threat on Wednesday, and then continuing up to South Carolina early Thursday.

11 a.m.

The already powerful Hurricane Dorian continues to intensify as it moves west toward the Bahamas and the U.S. Southeast Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says maximum sustained winds of the powerful Category 4 storm increased Saturday morning to 150 mph (240 kph) from 145 mph (230 kph).

As of about 11 a.m. EDT Saturday, Dorian was 260 miles (415 kilometers) east-northeast of the northwestern Bahamas and 415 miles (670 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The storm slowed slightly, traveling west at 8 mph (13 kph) from 12 mph.

The latest forecast says Dorian is expected to stay just off shore of Florida and skirt the coast of Georgia, with the possibility of landfall still a threat on Wednesday, and then continuing up to South Carolina early Thursday.

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9:35 a.m.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is warning Floridians not to let their guard down despite shifts in forecasts showing Hurricane Dorian possibly staying off the shore of the state. The cone of potential pathways still includes much of the state, and DeSantis says if residents are within that cone they should be prepared.

“Looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact. If it bumps further east, that obviously is positive. If it bumps just a little west, than you’re looking at really, really significant impacts. Don’t make any assumptions, remain vigilant and be prepared,” DeSantis said at a briefing Saturday morning.

He added that even if Dorian doesn’t make landfall in Florida, the state could still be affected by winds and storm surge as it heads north along the East Coast.

“Understand, even if it doesn’t directly strike Florida, this is a big, powerful storm. You’re still looking at really significant storm surge on the east coast of Florida, you’re looking at major flooding events in different parts of the state,” he said. “You’re still looking at significant impacts even if the storm remains hugging the coast.

7:55 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is strengthening as it moves west toward the Bahamas and Florida.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says maximum sustained winds increased Saturday morning to 145 mph (230 kph), up from 140 mph (220 kph).

As of about 8 a.m. EDT Saturday, the Category 4 storm was 280 miles (450 kilometers) east of the northwestern Bahamas and 445 miles (715 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The storm was traveling west at 12 mph (19 kph).

The hurricane center says the core of Dorian is expected to be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday and near the Florida east coast late Monday. Strong winds and life-threatening storm surge are also possible along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina by the middle of next week.

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5:15 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian continues its slow march toward the Bahamas, and, eventually Florida’s east coast.

As of 5 a.m. Saturday, the Category 4 storm was 305 miles (490 kilometers) east of the northwestern Bahamas and 470 miles (755 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

The National Hurricane’s advisory says maximum sustained winds remained at 140 mph (220 kph), but the storm’s speed picked up slightly, moving west at 12 mph (19 kph), up from 10 mph (17 kph).

Hurricane-force winds still extend outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers).

Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday, and the storm is expected to near Florida’s coast late Monday.

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2:15 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is slowly moving closer to the Bahamas, en route to Florida’s east coast.

As of early Saturday, the Category 4 storm was 340 miles (545 kilometers) east of the northwestern Bahamas and 510 miles (820 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida. According to the National Hurricane Center’s 2 a.m. advisory, maximum sustained winds remained at 140 mph (220 kph) as the storm continued to move west at 10 mph (17 kph).

The advisory says a slower westward motion will likely begin later Saturday.

Hurricane-force winds are extending outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers).

Dorian is expected to near the Florida coast late Monday.

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12:30 a.m.

As Hurricane Dorian makes its way toward Florida’s east coast, authorities have begun to schedule mandatory evacuations.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said Friday night that a mandatory evacuation for the county’s barrier island will take effect 8 a.m. Sunday. The order encompasses the Kennedy Space Center.

Martin County Fire Rescue Chief Bill Schobel said Friday that mandatory evacuations are scheduled to begin 10 a.m. Sunday for the county’s barrier islands.

The director of emergency services for Indian River County, Tad Stone, says officials will recommend a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island when hurricane warnings are issued.

Dorian gained Category 4 strength late Friday, clocking top sustained winds of 140 mph (225 kph). It’s unclear where and how Dorian will hit Florida, but it’s expected to threaten the peninsula late Monday or early Tuesday.

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12:05 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian has gained fearsome new muscle as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm, bearing down on the Bahamas as it edges closer to Florida’s east coast.

Millions of people in Florida, along with the state’s Walt Disney World and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, are in the potential crosshairs of the hurricane. Forecasters said Dorian gained Category 4 strength late Friday, clocking top sustained winds of 140 mph (225 kph).

Forecasters say it’s still too early to tell whether Dorian would make a direct hit on the state’s east coast or inflict a glancing blow. They note some computer models predict a late turn to the north that would have Dorian hug the coast.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the hurricane: https://apnews.com/Hurricanes

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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