Dorian Expected to Hit Florida as a Category 3 Hurricane, Forecasters Say

Bill Pan
By Bill Pan
August 28, 2019US News
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Dorian Expected to Hit Florida as a Category 3 Hurricane, Forecasters Say
A member of the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) monitors the trajectory of Storm Dorian in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Aug. 27, 2019. (Ricardo Rojas/Reuters)

Forecasters are warning that tropical storm Dorian, which has officially been designated Hurricane Dorian on Aug. 28, will strengthen into a dangerous Category 3 hurricane as it approaches the continental United States.

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are under alert, as Dorian passes through the area with sustained winds expected to top 80 miles per hour. The storm is currently crossing over St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center 2 p.m. ET. The storm is moving toward the northwest at around 14 mph.

“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph with higher gusts,” the hurricane center says. “Dorian is forecast to strengthen and become a powerful hurricane during the next few days over the Atlantic waters.”

Dorian’s sustained wind speeds of 80 miles per hour make it a Category 1 hurricane. Category 1 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 74 to 95 mph.

NTD Photo
The projected storm path of Hurricane Dorian, placing it over central Florida at 2 p.m., on Sept. 2. (National Hurricane Center)

A hurricane warning is currently in effect the Puerto Rican islands Vieques and Culebra, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Forecasters expect the storm to grow in size and power up to a Category 3 hurricane as it moves north of the Bahamas. Category 3 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 111 to 129 miles per hour.

The NHC’s current predictions show Dorian’s center hitting Florida’s coast early Monday, although it is still possible that Florida feels the impact when the tropical-storm-force winds arrive as early as Saturday night.

NTD Photo
Projected arrival time of Dorian’s tropical-storm-force winds. Florida could be impacted by the winds as early as Saturday night. (National Hurricane Center)

“All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near the Florida or southeastern coast of the United States,” the NHC wrote in a public advisory.

Although it’s not yet certain that the storm will hit the U.S., the NHC is recommending that residents be prepared in case it does.

“The risk of dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds is increasing in the central and northwestern Bahamas and along the Florida east coast, although it is too soon to determine where these hazards will occur,” NHC officials wrote in the public advisory. “Residents in these areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place and not focus on the exact forecast track of Dorian’s center.”

Hurricane Dorian is expected to produce heavy rainfall with the potential of flash flooding during the next couple of days over parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, according to the public advisory. Parts of Florida could receive 4 to 8 inches of rain and up to 10 inches in isolated areas later this week extending into early next week.

“Given the favorable environment of warm waters and low shear prevailing in the western Atlantic, the NHC forecast calls for a marked intensification, and brings Dorian to category 3 intensity in 72 hours, and keeps it at that intensity until landfall,” the NHC said in an update at 5 p.m. ET. “This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.”

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