(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Dorian is strengthening and could possibly make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 storm this weekend.
Dorian first tore through the Caribbean Wednesday, blasting St. Thomas with powerful winds and more than 6 inches of rain.
President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Dorian missed Puerto Rico for the most part, where many residents are still reeling from the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. The highest rainfall total on the island on Wednesday was 1 to 2 inches.
“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.”
Dorian is expected to become a Category 3 hurricane Thursday afternoon and then a major hurricane by Friday afternoon with 115 mph winds.
The storm is then forecast to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane, bringing more than 1 foot of rain to Florida and winds as high as 125 mph.
The storm could touch Florida’s East Coast, between Cape Canaveral and West Palm Beach, on Monday. But everyone between the Carolinas and Miami should be ready for impact.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for counties in Dorian’s path.
“It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely,” DeSantis said in a statement on Thursday. “Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster.”
DeSantis tweeted Thursday night that he spoke with the president who “reassured me that #Florida has the full support of the federal government as residents prepare for the storm.”
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