How Dorian could grow to a Category 3 hurricane and pummel Florida, Georgia on Labor Day

Once Tropical Storm Dorian is done potentially thrashing Puerto Rico, southeastern US states could get lashed on Labor Day weekend.

The powerful storm -- which keeps getting stronger -- could strike Florida or Georgia as a Category 3 hurricane by Monday, forecasters said.

"Even up into the Carolinas is not out of the question," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Wednesday.

But there's a big caveat: It's too early to tell exactly where or when Dorian might strike the US mainland.

Wednesday's projections come five days before Dorian could reach parts of the mainland on Monday.

"The (risk of) error five days out is significant," Myers said.

Dorian has already defied projection models as a wild-card storm.

But this much we do know: The tropical storm is hurling 70-mph winds Wednesday and is expected to intensify.

"It will get stronger over that very warm water," Myers said of the Atlantic.

TRACK THE STORM

A tropical storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 to 95 mph. It becomes a Category 2 hurricane when those winds reach 96 to 110 mph, and a Category 3 hurricane when winds get to 111 mph.

Regardless of what you call Dorian, it could deluge parts of the coastal US Southeast with 4 to 8 inches of rain, and up to 10 inches in isolated areas, the National Hurricane Center said.

"This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods," the hurricane center said.

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