The US National Hurricane Center is concerned by Hurricane Dorian’s slow motion as it approaches Florida’s coast — saying it puts parts of the state “at an increasing risk of a prolonged, drawn-out event of strong winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rainfall.”
Dorian is expected to increase to a major Category 3 hurricane later Friday and could hit the US on Monday or Tuesday as a catastrophic Category 4 — or even a Category 5 — storm.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds increased Friday morning to almost 110 mph as it was centered about 255 miles east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas and moving northwest near 12 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.
“On this track, Dorian should move over the Atlantic well east of the southeastern and central Bahamas today, approach the northwestern Bahamas Saturday, and move near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday,” Senior Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila said in the latest advisory.
Dorian’s expected path puts South and Central Florida in the projected impact zone early next week.
Where it makes landfall all depends on where and when the storm makes a left turn.
During the overnight hours there was increasing consensus between the European and American forecast models — putting the storm somewhere in the vicinity of South to Central Florida, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Some European tracks show an outside chance that the storm will head north, hugging the coast rather than making landfall in Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has declared a state of emergency, said during a 9 a.m. briefing in Tallahassee that authorities are preparing for all the possible paths the storm could take.
“It’s much better be to be prepared and then not have to face it than to go into one of these things unprepared,” he said, noting that the Trump administration “recognizes that this is a really, really serious event.”
The governor also acknowledged that there is a fuel shortage across the state as the storm approaches.
“We, in the emergency declaration, waived service and truck rates for fuel trucks so we can increase capacity for fuel being brought in,” he said.
“We’re also going to be starting today implementing Florida Highway Patrol escorts for fuel trucks so we can increase fueling in critical parts of the state.” DeSantis added.
It also was announced that about 2,000 National Guard troops will be mobilized in Florida by the end of the day, and that the number will double on Saturday.
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