Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 2 storm Thursday night. It’s expected to intensify into a major Category 3 hurricane Friday and stay at least that strong as it makes its way to the U.S. mainland, the National Hurricane Center said.
“Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend,”the center said.
Dorian could strengthen into a potentially catastrophic Category 4 with 130 mph winds and barrel into the U.S. Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia, forecasters quoted by The Associated Press said.
Florida residents rushed to supermarkets across the state collecting food and supplies.
The National Weather Service said Dorian could bring a “triple-threat of dangers” to Florida — including “life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds and heavy rains.” They urged Floridians to “prepare NOW.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the state of emergency he’d already declared to cover all counties in the state and asked President Trump for a pre-landfall disaster declaration.
The government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern part of the chain.
Mr. Trump canceled a weekend visit to Poland to focus on the federal storm response.
“All indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big,” he said in a video he tweeted Thursday evening, comparing Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Dorian’s center was some 260 miles east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas as it headed northwest at 12 mph, the hurricane center said. Dorian’s sustained winds were 105 mph.