Hurricane Dorian gains strength as Florida braces for hit
MIAMI - Hurricane Dorian gained strength
as it crept closer to Florida's coast on Friday, raising the
risk that parts of the U.S. state will be hit by strong winds, a
storm surge and heavy rain for a prolonged period after it makes
landfall early next week.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a
hurricane watch for northwestern Bahamas, and said Dorian was
likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane as it
approaches Florida through the weekend.
"The biggest concern will be Dorian's slow motion when it is
near Florida, placing some areas of the state at an increasing
risk of a prolonged, drawn-out event of strong winds, dangerous
storm surge, and heavy rainfall," the center said.
The storm began Friday over the Atlantic as a Category 2 but
was already expected to be classified a Category 3 later in the
day, with sustained winds of at least 110 miles per hour (175 km
The entire state of Florida was under a declaration of
emergency, and Governor Ron DeSantis has activated 2,500
National Guard troops, with another 1,500 on standby.
Forecasters predicted the storm would grow more ferocious as
it gained fuel from the warm waters off Florida, slamming into
the state late on Monday or early Tuesday. Tropical storm winds
could be felt in Florida as soon as Saturday.
No evacuations were ordered as of early Friday, but many
were expected as the storm's path becomes clearer before it
If, as expected, the storm reaches Category 4 over the
weekend, its winds will blow at more than 130 mph (210 kph).
There was concern that it could slow from its current 12-mph
(9-kph) march across the map, giving it more time to draw fuel
from warm seas.
Recent NHC weather models show Dorian smacking into the
center of Florida. It was trending northwest in the latest
advisory issued at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) on Friday.
The storm could roll inland toward Orlando on Tuesday or
early Wednesday, weakening as it moves away from the sea. Other
NHC weather models show it tracking south toward Miami before
hitting the peninsula, or heading north to the Georgia coast.
Along with the dangerous winds, the storm was expected to
drop 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of rain on the coastal United
States, with some areas getting as much as 15 inches (38 cm).
"This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods," NHC
President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a planned
weekend trip to Poland, sending Vice President Mike Pence in his
place, so he can make sure resources are properly directed for
"Now it's looking like it could be an absolute monster,"
Trump said in a video posted on Twitter, adding that food and
water were being shipped to Florida.
Governor DeSantis said Floridians need to take the storm
"Hurricane #Dorian is moving slowly & gaining strength,"
DeSantis wrote on Twitter. "Now is the time to get prepared &
have a plan."
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in
12 counties to assist with storm readiness, response and
'NOT LOOKING GOOD'
Angela Johnson, a 39-year-old bar manager in South Florida,
said on Thursday, "We're worried. This is not looking good for
"We woke up a lot more scared than we went to bed last
night, and the news is not getting any better," said Johnson,
who manages Coconuts On The Beach, a bar and restaurant on the
surfing beach in the town of Cocoa Beach.
Officials were making piles of sand available for Cocoa
Beach residents to fill sandbags starting on Friday.
Dorian could churn across dozens of launchpads owned by the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Air
Force and companies such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos'