(NEW YORK) — Now forecast to approach Florida with winds of 140 mph, Dorian, should it make landfall at those wind speeds, would become just the ninth hurricane to do so, dating back to 1851.
States of emergency have been issued in Florida and in Georgia as residents scramble to acquire supplies before Dorian, which strengthened into a Category 2 overnight into Friday, is forecast to make landfall early Tuesday as a Category 4 and dump more than a foot of rain.
“All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement on Thursday. “As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.”
Satellite imagery from early Friday showed the storm with winds of about 105 mph as it passed north of Turks and Caicos.
Dorian is likely to reach Category 3 with winds of 115 mph by Friday afternoon and continue toward the Bahamas before reaching Florida.
Most likely, the hurricane will reach Category 4 on Sunday as its wind speeds top 130 mph.
Dorian most likely will strike near West Palm Beach between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Tuesday but could be delayed until a bit later that morning, as some forecasting models have shown.
Different models show the hurricane taking different paths after making landfall, with some predicting it makes its way north toward Georgia and others forecasting a path into the Gulf of Mexico.
With 1 to 2 feet of rain likely, flash floods may result and storm surge — ocean water pushed ashore by the storm — could prove the biggest threat to those near the coast.
Dorian on Wednesday slashed through the Caribbean, delivering more than half a foot of rain, but it largely missed Puerto Rico, parts of which still haven’t recovered from Hurricane Maria in 2017. Almost 3,000 people died because of that storm.
“Thank God we were not affected,” Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez said Wednesday night. “All the determinations made in the last days were a real life exercise.”
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