When will Hurricane Dorian hit Florida? What we know about the dangerous storm – USA TODAY
As Hurricane DorianÂ strengthenedÂ into a major stormÂ Friday, Florida residents prepared for likely life-threatening storm surge and devastating winds at the end of Labor Day weekend.Â
Forecasters expect Dorian to hit the southeastern coast as an “extremely dangerous”Â Category 4 hurricane Monday into Tuesday, bringing winds that may reach up to 140 mph.
President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis each declaredÂ a stateÂ of emergency to facilitate federal and state recovery efforts to the looming storm’s potential damage.
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Hereâs what we know so far about the storm:
When and where will Dorian hit?
A Monday or early Tuesday arrival seems likely, although Florida residents could experience tropical storm-force winds as early as Saturday night. Once Dorian approaches the coast, it is expected to slow down considerably.
Forecasters say itâs too early to tell where Dorian will land and have the greatest impact, but any part of the coast between the Florida Keys and the southern part of Georgia could be in the direct path.
After that, the stormâs path is uncertain. It could continue north along the coast or head west across the state toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Where is Dorian?
After mostly sparing the Caribbean, Dorian is moving northwest at a slow 10 mph pace,Â according to the National Hurricane Center.
As ofÂ 11 p.m.Â EDT Friday, the storm was located about 545 miles eastÂ of West Palm Beach with 140-mph winds, forecasters say.Â
The weather service said that on its current track, “the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today and tomorrow, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and be near the Florida peninsula late Monday.”
How powerful is it?
With sustained winds up to 140 mph, Dorian qualifiesÂ as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. Thatâs not as much a concern now that itâs in openÂ water, but the issue is how much steam it may pick up.
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The weather service’s current forecast has Dorian with winds at 140-mph while slamming the Bahamas Sunday into Monday.Â
“Dorian is expected to become an extremely dangerous major hurricane soon with additional strengthening likely as it heads for the northwestern Bahamas and the Florida peninsula,” the hurricane center said Friday morning.
Why is it getting stronger?
Hurricanes need three major ingredients to form: water at least 80 degrees in temperature, moist air and converging winds. Then the storm nourishes from the waterâs heat energy.
âThe warmer the water, the more moisture is in the air,ââ the website for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. âAnd that could mean bigger and stronger hurricanes.ââ
The hurricane center said current conditions in the Atlantic are favorable for the storm to intensify over the next day.
What kind of impact could it have?
It could be calamitous. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties, urgingÂ residents to prepare with supplies like food, water and medicines for at least a week.
“The time to act is now,” DeSantis said. “Do not wait until it’s too late.”
President Donald Trump is monitoring the storm, and said the federal governmentÂ is ready to help on a recorded message.Â
The main concern is that Dorian will slow as it approaches the coast, which could prolong the period of heavy rainfall, winds and storm surge.
The Hurricane Center warns there could be âdevastating hurricane-force windsââ along the stateâs eastern coast and peninsula, and rain totals in coastal areas of the southeast U.S. could range from 6Â to 12Â inches and up to 18 inches in isolated areas.
âLife-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the Florida east coast by early next week,ââ the centerÂ said.
Airlines have already begun cancelling a few flights and offering to waive fees to change travel plans. Cruise companies were also modifying routes in Dorian’s path.
In the Bahamas, storm surge as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in some areas. The northwestern Bahamas will be soaked withÂ 6 to 12 inches of rain, with isolated patches up to 18 inches, the hurricane center said.
What should I do if I’m in the storm’s path?
While Dorian’s exact track remains uncertain, Floridians should be monitoring updates on where it’s headed, the hurricane center says.
Stock up on food and water and fill your cars with gas. DeSantis said residents should have multiple days of supplies ready. Some lines were beginning to form at stores and gas stations, and fuel shortages have been scattered.
DeSantis saidÂ Florida Highway Patrol was escorting fuel trucks to resupply filling stations.
Power outages are likely too, with Florida Power and Light preparing nearly 13,000 employeesÂ to restore power after the storm and municipalÂ utilities working with a network of crews arriving from around the U.S. in the coming days.
No evacuation orders are in place yet, but DeSantis urged residents to keep a close eye on any updates and heed the orders if/when issued. At that time, traffic may occur on the highways, but the governor said the shoulders have been cleared and tolls will be waived.
Contributing:Â Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat;Â John Fritze and Ledyard King, USA TODAY; The Associated ress