The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports it is predicted Hurricane Dorian will hit Florida and the northern Bahamas as a Category 4 storm this weekend. Winds of 130 mph and intense rain are expected.
In the next 48 hours, Dorian is expected to grow. The NHC says, “all of the intensity models forecast Dorian to begin strengthening again soon, and rapid intensification could occur.”
Dorian has exited the Caribbean Sea and is presently over the Atlantic Ocean, 220 miles north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Winds are 85 mph and are moving at a pace of 13 mph northwest, as reported at 11 am est on August 29, 2019, by the NHC.
As of Thursday morning, the hurricane is expected to upgrade to a major hurricane and make landfall early on September 2, Labor Day.
Ken Graham, the Director of the NHC, says that the winds will be strong and will arrive hours earlier than landfall. He added that many parts of Florida might feel the effects of Dorian.
In a video update on August 29, Graham says “Please do not think this is just coastal. This is over the whole state.”
Graham says that it is expected Dorian will maintain the status of a hurricane when it moves inland. He added that it will be dangerous and slow and could produce “high impacts” through persistent rain and wind.
On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 4 hurricane (winds with speed from 130-156 mph) can cause catastrophic damage. This could include damage to well-built homes.
The NHC says: “Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
Dorian my be the most powerful hurricane to hit the east coast of Florida in a decade.
In 2018, Hurricane Michael was documented as the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Michael made landfall at Mexico Beach, on Florida’s Gulf side.
Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm made landfall in the Florida Keys. It then hit Florida a second time of the state’s Gulf Coast.
Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor declared a state of emergency for 26 counties which are located in the current path of Dorian.
On August 28, Dorian hit Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and other islands with rain. The storm upgraded to a hurricane as it approached land with winds sustained at 75-80 mph. There have been no reports of extensive damage to the Caribbean islands.
NPR’s Adrián Florido reported from San Juan: “Thankfully, there were no reports of major damage here.” He added that there were widespread power outages in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and flooding in both St. Croix and St. Thomas.
NHC spokesperson Dennis Feltgen warns “We don’t want anybody focusing on exactly where the center would come ashore, because hurricanes, as we know, are not a dot on a map. Their impacts are over a wide area.”
Written by Barbara Sobel
NPR: Hurricane Dorian Churns Toward Florida Coast, Expected To Bring 130 MPH Winds
USA Today: Hurricane Dorian to strengthen, set to slam Florida as major Category 4 storm on Labor Day
Express: Hurricane Dorian NOAA 11am update: Deadly storms tracks closer to the US
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NCDC, Wikimedia – Creative Commons License