Now playing
01:54
Hurricane Dorian expected to gain strength
Chairman Joe Manchin (C), D-WV, greets Congresswoman Deb Haaland, D-NM, during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Haaland would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
PHOTO: Jim Watson/Pool/Getty Images
Chairman Joe Manchin (C), D-WV, greets Congresswoman Deb Haaland, D-NM, during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Haaland would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
Now playing
02:35
Democratic senator slows progress on Biden's Covid-19 bill
Rep john garamendi 0305
PHOTO: CNN
Rep john garamendi 0305
Now playing
02:33
Rep. Garamendi: Any lawmaker involved in Capitol riots ought to be thrown out of Congress
A view of Capitol Hill during heightened security concerns over possible protests or violence tomorrow March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Washington's security posture has been bolstered after threats of a possible March 4, 2021, "breach" of the US Capitol, with the House of Representatives changing its voting plans to avoid gathering members on a day of potential unrest. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
A view of Capitol Hill during heightened security concerns over possible protests or violence tomorrow March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Washington's security posture has been bolstered after threats of a possible March 4, 2021, "breach" of the US Capitol, with the House of Representatives changing its voting plans to avoid gathering members on a day of potential unrest. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Rep. Sarbanes: Failure to pass HR 1 'would split our democracy in two'
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner  attends a press conference on September 4, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner attends a press conference on September 4, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:50
Jared Kushner disappears from Trump's inner circle
PHOTO: CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell
Now playing
02:14
Governor Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett speaks out
In this Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Powell told Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021,  that the central bank will not begin raising interest rates until the Fed believes it has reached its goals on maximum employment  and warned that many people in the hardest hit industries will likely need to find different jobs.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)
PHOTO: Susan Walsh/AP
In this Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Powell told Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that the central bank will not begin raising interest rates until the Fed believes it has reached its goals on maximum employment and warned that many people in the hardest hit industries will likely need to find different jobs. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)
Now playing
02:18
Jerome Powell: US economy 'some time' away from full recovery
A customer wears a face mask while shopping for flowers displayed for sale from a wholesale merchant ahead of the Valentine's Day holiday at the Southern California Flower Market on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - While some florists note an increased demand for socially distant gifts, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted global supply chains and shut down most large events including weddings where flowers are popular. The Valentine's Day and Mother's Day holidays are historically the two busiest days of the year for floral businesses. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP
A customer wears a face mask while shopping for flowers displayed for sale from a wholesale merchant ahead of the Valentine's Day holiday at the Southern California Flower Market on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - While some florists note an increased demand for socially distant gifts, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted global supply chains and shut down most large events including weddings where flowers are popular. The Valentine's Day and Mother's Day holidays are historically the two busiest days of the year for floral businesses. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
States rolling back Covid-19 safety measures as cases continue to rise
PHOTO: CBS' 60 Minutes+/Getty Images
Now playing
01:45
'QAnon Shaman' says he has one regret about January 6
psaki
PHOTO: CNN
psaki
Now playing
00:56
Psaki fires back at Trump testing czar over vaccine claims
Now playing
02:30
Alabama governor explains why she's ending mask mandate
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:35
See what security looks like outside US Capitol
PHOTO: Getty Images/CNN
Now playing
02:18
Bash: This is why key GOP senator is fighting Biden's stimulus
PHOTO: YouTube/Everyday Astronaut
Now playing
01:19
Watch SpaceX Mars prototype rocket nail landing, explode on pad
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  Physician to U.S. President Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson listens during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Dr. Jackson discussed the details of President TrumpÕs physical check-up from last week.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: Physician to U.S. President Donald Trump Dr. Ronny Jackson listens during the daily White House press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. Dr. Jackson discussed the details of President TrumpÕs physical check-up from last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:14
DOD releases scathing review of former White House physician
PHOTO: CNN/Getty
Now playing
02:10
'Highly misleading at best': Dale reacts to Pence's op-ed
PHOTO: Gov. Cuomo's office
Now playing
03:35
Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses women's allegations
(CNN) —  

Puerto Rico was spared the brunt of hurricane-force winds from Dorian that tore through the British and US Virgin Islands Wednesday, flooding roads and leaving areas without power.

But the threat is far from over for the mainland, with Dorian forecast to strengthen into a “powerful hurricane” as it heads toward Florida and other parts of the east coast.

As of 8 p.m. ET, the eye of Hurricane Dorian was located roughly 50 miles northeast of San Juan with hurricane-force winds extending 15 miles from the center of the storm, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Wind gusts of up to 40 mph are possible over the next couple of hours, considerably lower than what was forecast, Hennen said.

“Some lingering showers are possible over Puerto Rico, but the strong bands are now pulling away from the Island into the Atlantic, where based on satellite and radar images, Dorian may be intensifying,” he said.

TRACK THE STORM

With hurricane advisories discontinued for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, attention now shifts to potential impacts to the mainland, he said.

Dorian is expected to gather strength in the next few days over the Atlantic and become a major Category-3 storm or higher.

The latest guidance shows Florida as the most likely target, “and Dorian will likely be a very formidable hurricane as it approaches late Sunday into Monday morning,” Hennen said.

Ya Mary Morales, left, and Henry Sustache put plywood over the windows of their home Wednesday morning in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, ahead of Dorian.
PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Ya Mary Morales, left, and Henry Sustache put plywood over the windows of their home Wednesday morning in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, ahead of Dorian.

US Virgin Islands under curfew

The worst of the storm hit the British and US Virgin Islands, where Dorian toppled trees and power lines, leading local authorities to declare a state of emergency.

On the US Virgin Island of St. Croix, Stacy Mooney was recording video of the heavy rain outside and captured a sudden flash of blue-green light in the distance. Power went out for a few minutes, she wrote on Facebook.

“Overall, things are fine,” she told CNN. “The winds have been fierce.”

About 25,000 power outages in St. Croix were restored around 7 p.m. local time, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Director of Communications Jean Greaux told CNN.

“Within an hour of its passage, The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority mobilized crews to conduct a damage assessment. We immediately commenced restoration of service. Crews are now dispersed addressing isolated or pocket outages in a few locations,” Greaux said.

Restoration processes began around 4 p.m. local time in the St. Thomas and St. John districts, Greaux said. By Wednesday night, power on St. John was restored and work continues in St. Thomas with a significant portion already re-energized.

Greaux said work will continue through the night.

Puerto Rico prepared for impact

One man died after falling from the roof of his house while cleaning a drain in preparation for the storm, Puerto Rico Public safety Secretary Elmer Roman said.

Otherwise, fears that Dorian would strain Puerto Rico’s fragile infrastructure were largely unrealized. But with the memory of Hurricane Maria looming large in the island’s psyche, many residents took the threat seriously.

Men board up a shop's windows Tuesday in Boqueron, Puerto Rico.
PHOTO: Ramon Espinosa/AP
Men board up a shop's windows Tuesday in Boqueron, Puerto Rico.

“Thankfully, I’ve been preparing since May,” said Krystle Rivera, whose family has been stocking up on water, canned food and gas in anticipation of the hurricane season.

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on Monday declared a state of emergency for the island and urged people to prepare for the storm. Schools across Puerto Rico were closed Wednesday.

In the city of Ponce on Puerto Rico’s southern coast, people still have tarps over their homes from Maria’s damage, Mayor Maria “Mayita” Melendez told CNN.

Myers feared that Dorian’s rains could easily worsen already delicate conditions.

“There’s already so much damage on the ground from (Maria) that this isn’t going to take a lot to make a significant amount of damage, especially flooding,” he said.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez reported from Puerto Rico. Madeline Holcombe and Jason Hanna wrote from Atlanta. Paul P. Murphy, Meg Wagner, Michelle Krupa, Melissa Alonso and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.