The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center
shows Tropical Storm Dorian strengthening over the next couple days and possibly hitting the east coast of Florida as a Category 2 hurricane.
Dorian’s exact path and strength is still uncertain.
However, Dorian is currently about 60 miles east of St. Croix, moving 13 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, while tracking northwest.
The center of Dorian will pass over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later today at near hurricane strength, says the NHS. Both areas are under a hurricane watch.
Authorities warned that heavy rainfall over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands could produce landslides, widespread flooding and power outages.
"Practically the entire island will be under sustained tropical storm force winds," said Roberto García, director of U.S. National Weather Service San Juan, during a press conference late Tuesday.
The storm is forecast to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by Friday, as it tracks east of the Bahamas. Forecasters with the NHS say it could reach Category 2 strength by the time it reaches the east coast of Florida early Monday.
In a Tuesday afternoon tweet,
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Florida residents to start preparing for Dorian. "Based on the current track of Tropical Storm Dorian, all residents on the East Coast should prepare for impacts, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding. Make sure to have your supplies ready and follow @FLSERT [Florida Division of Emergency Management] and local media for the latest updates on the forecast," said DeSantis.
Dorian, which is the fourth tropical storm of the season, will hit Puerto Rico roughly a year after Hurricane Maria killed an estimated 3,000, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. President Donald Trump declared an emergency Tuesday, declaring federal assistance for local authorities.
If Dorian reaches reaches hurricane strength, it will be the second so far this season.
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.