TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Dorian continues to strengthen as it moves out over the warm, open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The storm has now become a Category 2 hurricane.
The Category 1 hurricane tore through the British and US Virgin Islands, and scraped Puerto Rico, doing limited damage. There were scattered power outages in St. Croix and islandwide blackouts in St. Thomas and St. John. No major flooding was reported.
Dorian is forecast to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane as it heads toward Florida and the Bahamas.
The storm is expected to hit the Sunshine State by Sunday afternoon at the earliest.
“The forecast track takes it toward Florida’s east coast, but this track is slower,” said Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann. “It’s still offshore on Monday morning. Changes will continue as computer models are still split long-range.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for all Florida counties.
“Today, I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure Florida is fully prepared for Hurricane Dorian,” DeSantis said. “It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely. Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster. I will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian closely with emergency management officials. The state stands ready to support all counties along the coast as they prepare.”
The NHC said the central and northwestern Bahamas and coastal sections of the southeast United States could see four to eight inches of rain, with 12 inches possible in isolated areas.
“This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods,” the advisory said.
As of 11 p.m., Dorian is located about 295 miles east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas.
The storm is traveling northwest at 12 miles per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at this time.
“Interests in the northwestern and central Bahamas should monitor the progress of Dorian,” the NHC advisory states.
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