Florida Declares State of Emergency As Hurricane Dorian Continues to Strengthen
The entire state of Florida is now under a state of emergency as Hurricane Dorian approaches. The hurricane, experts explain, could become a dangerous category 4 storm before making landfall. It could also become large enough to cover all of Florida’s 54,000 square miles.
"It's going to impact the entirety of Florida, and residents need to be prepared," Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor told CNN. "The clock is ticking right now...Don't waste time. Prepare yourself and your family."
According to the National Hurricane Center, “There is an increasing likelihood of a prolonged period of hazardous weather conditions that could last for a couple of days in parts of Florida early next week.” It noted there is also the possibility of a “life-threatening storm surge” along portions of Florida’s east coast as well.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Orlando Sentinel local officials will decide Friday whether to order voluntary or mandatory evacuations. According to the paper, some 2,000 Florida National Guard members have already been activated. Another 4,000 will likely be activated by Saturday.
"Dorian is growing stronger, now a category 2 storm but, will intensify later today into a category 3 with winds over 115 mph,” WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King told the Orlando Sentinel. "Central Floridians need to take this storm seriously and prepare for threats coming our way.”
On its current path, the storm is expected to make landfall somewhere north of West Palm Beach early Tuesday, the paper explained. If it makes landfall as a category 4 storm it could come with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.
It will then move slowly inland toward central Florida. According to King, central Florida could see up to two feet of rain with this storm system.
By Wednesday, forecasters expect the storm will have weakened, but remain a category 1 storm.
“One of the biggest concerns with a slow moving hurricane like Dorian is that the dangerous weather will last a few days,” Fox 35 meteorologist Kristin Giannas told the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge.”
However, as forecasters noted, the storm could change direction at any time. If you’re in the potential path of Hurricane Dorian it’s imperative you stay tuned to local radio and news stations for up-to-the-minute information. Those with travel plans to or from Florida in the coming days, and potentially coming weeks, should contact their airline or cruise company to learn about their options for rescheduling.