Dorian would be the strongest storm to make landfall in South Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Hurricane Dorian has ramped up and is now a Category 2 hurricane, as it continues to slow and strengthen en route to Florida’s east coast.
According to the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm is positioned about 480 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and is heading northwest at a speed of 10 mph. The latest models show the path of Dorian shifting slightly South, with a hard turn North at the beginning of the week, says the agency.
“On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today and tomorrow,” says the NHC, “be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and be near the Florida peninsula late Monday.”
President Donald Trump, who cancelled a trip to Poland to monitor the storm, referred to Dorian as an “absolute monster” Thursday evening.
“The winds seem to be building at a tremendous rate. It looks like winds are going to be unbelievably high,” said Trump video posted on Twitter. “Hopefully we’ll get lucky, but it looks to me that this time it’s heading in one direction, all indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big.”
Dorian is expected to become “a major hurricane later today, and it will remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week,” says the NHC in the 11 a.m. update.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas.
Dorian is currently packing sustained winds of nearly 105 to 110 mph, and is expected to make landfall just north of Palm Beach, which is in the vicinity of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
When it reaches Florida, Dorian could bring a storm surge of 10 feet or more to, and as much as 6 to 18 inches of rain, says the agency. Forecasters say Dorian will “likely slow down considerably” and become a Category 3 hurricane Friday, with winds from 111 mph to 129 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At this point, the NHC says Dorian could be an exceptionally dangerous storm that will will more than likely hit South Florida as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds. If this happens, Dorian will be the strongest storm to make landfall in this area since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
It’s tough to say when exactly the storm will impact Central Florida, but Tampa Bay should experience Tropical Storm winds by at least Monday night.
On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared that all 67 counties are under a state of emergency.
“This provides state and local governments ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare as the exact landfall location of Hurricane Dorian continues to fluctuate,” said the governor’s office in a news release.
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