Hurricane Dorian Strengthens in Category 4 Storm, Shifts Towards Carolinas
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
August 31, 2019
Forecasters say Hurricane Dorian has strengthened as it heads for Florida on Saturday, but a new tracking forecast may have the massive storm shift east of the state, possibly avoiding a direct hit.
According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 8 a.m. Saturday, Dorian has grown into a Category 4 Hurricane with 145 mph winds being measured by the agency. Dorian was about 445 miles east of West Palm Beach and moving west at about 12 mph. The latest forecast has Dorian moving over the Atlantic and then north of the southeastern and central Bahamas on Saturday. The storm is still heading for Florida's east coast with forecasters saying the first rains will hit late Monday.
"There's been a notable change overnight to the forecast of Dorian after Tuesday," the National Hurricane Center said on Twitter.
"It should be noted that the new forecast track does not preclude Dorian making landfall on the Florida coast, as large portions of the coast remain in the track cone of uncertainty," the Hurricane Center said.
Dorian strengthened into a Category 4 storm on Friday even as it continued to churn in the Atlantic Ocean while on track to strike the U.S. Risks for strong winds and a life-threatening surge are increasing along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts during the middle of next week.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Brevard and Martin counties as well as for residents of barrier islands and low-laying areas located on Florida's east coast. Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded a state of emergency declaration for all of Florida's 67 counties on Friday and told residents to be prepared with at least seven days worth of food, water and supplies. President Donald Trump also extended a federal state of emergency to help facilitate federal recovery efforts following the storm's impact. National Guard troops are also expected to be deployed in the coming days.
Local governments are distributing sandbags ahead of the storm's approach even as people flock to the stores to stock up on necessary items.
Forecasters say residents can expect up to a foot of rain with isolated areas receiving some 15 inches.
"You're looking at a potentially significant water event throughout portions of the state," DeSantis said Friday.
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