Tropical Storm Franklin has strengthened to a hurricane as of Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11am Eastern time on Saturday, Franklin was about 315 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk Island and 620 miles south of Bermuda, the center said, adding that Franklin was moving north-northwest at seven miles per hour, the center said.
Franklin’s maximum sustained winds increased to 75 mph, and the center said that “steady strengthening is forecast, and Franklin could become a major hurricane early next week.”
According to the center, swells caused by Franklin are “ likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” either late this weekend or early next week along portions of the east coast.
Franklin’s heavy flooding has already taken at least one life in the Dominican Republic, and homes without power or drinkable water this week. More than 540 homes were affected by the storm, according to preliminary government figures as of Thursday, and six communities were cut off by heavy rains.
Crews evacuated 280 people to higher ground ahead of the storm, and another 351 residents sought safety in government shelters.