States of emergencies have been declared in Georgia and the Carolinas as fears rise that Hurricane Dorian could make landfall there wreaking havoc across the region – while Florida braces itself to skirt the eye of the Category 4 storm.
Weather agencies warn the storm could reach category 5 by Labor Day, as the fearsome hurricane gains new muscle that will threaten Florida’s peninsula with winds of up to 145 mph by late Monday or early Tuesday.
But the National Hurricane Center in Miami cautioned that its meteorologists remain uncertain whether Dorian would make a devastating direct strike on the state’s east coast or inflict a glancing blow, as the consensus path now has the storm headed for landfall near the South Carolina and Georgia border, potentially just grazing Florida.
‘Excellent news for Florida this Saturday morning. The official forecast from NHC and the latest model forecasts are pointing toward an offshore Florida track as dangerous Dorian approaches,’ said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King.
‘We’re not out of the woods by any stretch, this needs to be watched and all Central Floridians need to be on guard until the storm rides north of our location.’
President Trump tweeted: ‘Looking like our great South Carolina could get hit MUCH harder than first thought. Georgia and North Carolina also. It’s moving around and very hard to predict, except that it is one of the biggest and strongest (and really wide) that we have seen in decades. Be safe!’
Pigeons fly above Cocoa Beach Pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA, 31 August 2019. Florida is preparing for Hurricane Dorian
Ken Southworth (L) and Ben Oliva (R) photograph the sunrise behind Cocoa Beach Pier in Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA, 31 August 2019. Florida is preparing for Hurricane Dorian
There is nothing stopping Hurricane Dorian from becoming a Category 5 storm when it hits the state’s east coast as early as Monday, a meteorologist has claimed. Pictured: A satellite image shows Dorian as it approaches the Bahamas and Florida at 11.20UTC on Friday
Supermarket shelves were bare in the state as residents prepared ahead of the storm
Dozens of people across the Sunshine State fueled up ahead of Hurricane Dorian making landfall in the event they need to evacuate
Crews in Brevard county place plywood on the windows of the Petco store in Viera as the town prepares for Hurricane Dorian’s approach
The faint hope of dodging Dorian’s fury came Friday, even as the storm ratcheted up from a menacing Category 3 hurricane to an even more dangerous Category 4. That raised fears Dorian could become the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida’s east coast in nearly 30 years.
HURRICANE DORIAN’S PATH
Friday: Dorian becomes a Category 3 as it moves through the Atlantic Ocean
Saturday: Dorian’s eye hits the north and east of Turks and Caicos
Sunday AM: Dorian slows its forward motion and hits the southeastern Bahamas
Monday AM: Dorian hits the northeastern Bahamas
Monday PM – Tuesday AM: Dorian slows and hits Palm Beach County and potentially the entire eastern coast including:
- South Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Delray Beach
- Port St Lucie
- Vero Beach
- Cape Canaveral
Tuesday PM – Wednesday AM: Dorian heads up towards Central Florida affecting areas including Tampa, Orlando and Kissimmee
Wednesday: Rains and winds hit southeastern Georgia
Source: The Weather Channel, NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida where it made landfall, with wind speeds as high as 165mph, killing 65 people and causing $27.3billion in damage.
National Hurricane Center projections showed Dorian hitting roughly near Fort Pierce, some 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Mar-a-Lago, then running along the coastline as it moved north. But forecasters cautioned that the storm’s track remains still highly uncertain and even a small deviation could put Dorian offshore – or well inland.
Trump has declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts. He told reporters that ‘Mar-a-Lago can handle itself’ and that he is more worried about Florida.
Shortly after midnight on Friday, Trump tweeted that he was ‘monitoring Hurricane Dorian and receiving frequent briefings and updates’.
‘This is an extremely dangerous storm, please prepare and be safe,’ he wrote.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had earlier declared a state of emergency for every county and asked President Trump declare a pre-landfall disaster for all 67 counties. He also activated 2,500 members of the National Guard with 1,500 more on standby.
‘All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts. As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.’
President Trump is shown Dorian’s progression as it heads past the Bahamas and towards Florida and Georgia
As Dorian closed in, Labor Day weekend plans were upended. Major airlines began allowing travelers to change their reservations without fees. The big cruise lines began rerouting their ships. Disney World and Orlando’s other resorts found themselves in the storm’s projected path.
– As of Friday evening, Dorian became a major hurricane and was classified as Category 3
– It is expected to hit Florida on Labor Day as a Category 4 and 10 million will be caught in the crosshairs
– Some meteorologists say Dorian could become a Category 5 because the storm has developed an eye
– Trump’s resort Mar-a-Lago is reportedly directly in the hurricane’s path
– Around 7.5 million Florida residents could lose power as a result of Dorian
– There is a fuel shortage and people are abandoning their cars at gas stations
– Governor Rick DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida’s 67 counties
– About 2,500 members of the National Guard have been activated with 1,500 more on standby
– Florida could see as much as 15 inches of rain in isolated areas from Hurricane Dorian
– Miami city officials have ordered electric scooters off the streets in case they become flying projectiles
Still, with Dorian days away and its track uncertain, Disney and other major resorts held off announcing any closings, and Florida authorities ordered no immediate mass evacuations.
‘Sometimes if you evacuate too soon, you may evacuate into the path of the storm if it changes,’ DeSantis said.
But some counties announced mandatory evacuations ahead of time on Friday. Brevard County and Martin County officials announced residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas would be under a mandatory evacuation order beginning Sunday morning.
The Brevard County order includes the Kennedy Space Center. Indian River County officials said they will recommend residents of its barrier island voluntarily evacuate once hurricane warnings are issued.
Homeowners and businesses rushed to cover their windows with plywood. Supermarkets ran out of bottled water, and long lines formed at gas stations, with some fuel shortages reported.
At a Publix supermarket in Cocoa Beach, Ed Ciecirski of the customer service department said the pharmacy was extra busy with people rushing to fill prescriptions. The grocery was rationing bottled water and had run out of dry ice.
‘It’s hairy,’ he said.
Late Friday, Dorian was centered 545 miles east of West Palm Beach. It was moving northwest at 10 mph. Forecasters warned that its slow movement means Florida could face a prolonged wallop of wind, storm surge and torrential rain.
Coastal areas could get 6 to 12 inches of rain, with 18 inches in some places, triggering life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane center said.
Also imperiled were the Bahamas, where canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly from shelves and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes.
Dorian was expected to hit the northwestern part of the Bahamas by Sunday with the potential for life-threatening storm surge that could raise water levels 15 feet above normal.
‘Do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane,’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. ‘The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life.’
A new model, from the University of Michigan, Industrial & Operations Engineering program, predicts at least 35 percent of the Sunshine State’s population will lose electricity.
Residents across Florida have been rushing to supermarkets to collect food and supplies as several stores reported rapidly dwindling supplies.
Home Depot has sent more than 160 truckloads of products to stores in the state so far, a company spokesperson said.
One Walmart Supercenter in Orlando ran out of plain water on Thursday and now only has flavored waters and sports drinks available. The store’s canned food shelves are also thinning out fast.
Josefine Larrauri, a retired translator, went to a Publix supermarket in Miami only to find empty shelves in the water section.
‘I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened,’ she said. ‘What’s the use of going all the way to Georgia if it can land there?’
The state government has ordered an additional 200,000 gallons of water for preparing counties on top of the 860,000 gallons already deployed. It is also ready to distribute 1.8 million meals.
Miami Beach is already experiencing flooding thanks to one of the season’s highest tides of the year, a king tide. Pictured: Weston Rice drives through a flooded parking lot as he prepares to drop his jet ski into the water at the Haulover Marine Center on Friday
As much as 15 inches of rain could fall on the already flooded area. Pictured: People walk to their boat through a flooded parking lot at the Haulover Marine Center
Miami Beach residents Omar, left, and Endre Eles place hurricane shutters over windows ahead of Dorian on Friday
Workers cover stained glass windows with plywood sections at the Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church in Flagler Beach, Florida, in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Friday
Workers at Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida, move a postosuchus statue (left) and an Allosaurus statue (right) in preparation for Dorian, on Friday
The Orlando Sentinel reported that the storm is likely to make landfall on Monday north of West Palm Beach before it moves inland and batters Central Florida with rain and wind.
According to the newspaper, by the time Dorian reaches Kissimmee on Wednesday morning, it will have decreased to a Category 1 storm with winds of 75 mph.
However, because the storm’s track could change, no immediate mass evacuations have been ordered.
Along Florida’s east coast, local governments began distributing sandbags, and shoppers were told to get a week’s worth of food and other emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores.
However, several residents left their cars at gas stations as they realized fuel had run out.
Marion Wilkinson Scott, who lives in Miami, told CNN he saw 12 cars that left at a Chevron station, two cars at another Chevron, and five at a Mobile station.
On Friday morning, Florida Power and Light activated its emergency response plan, saying in a news release that it has secured some 13,000 employees and additional personnel to help restore power after Dorian hits.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency ahead for 12 counties closest to the state’s 100 miles of coastline on Thursday.
He signed an executive order that will free up state resources for emergency preparations and response and also prohibit price gouging for goods and services such as gasoline.
The 500-mile cone of uncertainty indicates that the hurricane could be affect anywhere from coastal southern Georgia to the Florida keys.
CNN reported that NASA moved a launch platform from the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building, about 3.5 miles away.
The $650million platform is the only one that is reportedly available for Space Launch System, the program to send astronauts back to the moon, and maybe even Mars.
Supplies at a Walmart in West Miami run low on Friday as residents prepare for Hurricane Dorian
Long lines form for gas at a Costco in Miami as a shortage of fuel spreads across the state
Food and other supplies are expected to disappear quickly as shoppers wait in a long line for a Sam’s Club store to open before sunrise
A supervised work crew of female jail prisoners fills sandbags for distribution to local residents in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian
Local residents wait in their vehicles to receive a limit of ten sandbags per car at a sandbag distribution location in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian
The Florida Department of Emergency Management tweeted a lengthy checklist of supplies to have on hand on Wednesday
Florida’s most destructive hurricanes
Hurricane Andrew: This powerful Category 5 Atlantic hurricane battered the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana in August 1992.
At the time it was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida where it made landfall with wind speeds as high as 165mph, killing 65 people and causing $27.3billion in damage.
Homestead Florida residents picking through the debris left in the wake of the deadly Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992
Hurricane Irma: Irma was the strongest observed hurricane in the Atlantic causing at least 134 deaths in September 2017.
This Category 5 hurricane hit the Leeward Islands, the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
Trees pictured bent in Hurricane Irma on Sept 10 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hurricane Michael: This category 5 hurricane was the first to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992.
The October 2018 storm killed 74 – including 59 in the U.S. and 15 in Central America.
It reached peak winds of 160mph before it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida
A damaged home in Mexico Beach, Florida pictured above in the wake of Hurricane Michael
Several stores have reported rapidly dwindling supplies, including one Orlando Walmart that ran out of all plain water
A resident fills gas cans in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Thursday in Winter Springs, Florida
In Brevard County over 100 vehicles lined up at Thursday morning for free sandbags being filled by trustees from the Brevard County Jail
Stunning footage from outer space shows Hurricane Dorian in all its might, swirling towards Florida, where it’s forecast to make landfall on Labor Day Monday as a monster Category 4 storm. This was shot from the International Space Station Thursday afternoon
Hurricane Dorian is pictured Thursday in this satellite image as it barrels past Puerto Rico, sparing the island, and heads towards the northern Bahamas and Florida’s east coast, leading Florida to declare a state of emergency
Dorian passed to the west of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, brushing the islands of Culebra and Vieques but otherwise sparing the US territory from another disaster as it still reels from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
‘We’re happy because there are no damages to report,’ Culebra Mayor William Solís told The Associated Press, noting that only one community lost power.
On Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted: ‘Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route than anticipated. Thank you to FEMA, first responders, and all, for working so hard & being so well prepared. A great result! The bad news, Florida get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG!
‘Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!’
Trump cancelled his upcoming trip to Poland, meant to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the country, in light of the hurricane and announced he’ll send Vice President Mike Pence in his place.
‘It’s something very important for me to be here,’ he said. ‘The storm looks like it could be a very big one indeed.’
His remarks came one day after he was blasted for transferring disaster-relief funds to border control efforts.
The Trump administration announced in July in a notification to Congress that it will move $155million from FEMA’s disaster-relief fund to pay for border enforcement efforts.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat – berated Trump on Twitter Wednesday, writing: ‘The President must be out of his mind if he thinks it’s a good idea to shift funds out of @FEMA for immigrant detention at the border while a potential Category 3 Hurricane #Dorian bears down on the United States.’
She added: ‘We don’t need those funds diverted to fuel a xenophobic agenda.’
President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday morning: ‘Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route than anticipated. Thank you to FEMA, first responders, and all, for working so hard & being so well prepared. A great result! The bad news, Florida get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG! Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!’
Puerto Rico was hit with just a bit of rain as Dorian approached its northeast region but didn’t make landfall. A flooded road in Canovanas on the island pictured above
A washed up boat lies on the shore after Dorian slammed St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands on Wednesday
Dorian battered the island of St Thomas on Wednesday, causing widespread power outages and leveling trees