WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Florida residents are bracing for the worst as Hurricane Dorian barreled toward the state’s east coast.
- Meteorologists fear it could become a Category 5 storm by the time it makes landfall late Sunday or early Monday.
- The storm, currently a Category 1 with 85-mph winds and heavy rains, is expected to grow into a monster over the next two days and at least reach Category 4 — which means gales of more than 130 mph.
Florida residents picked store shelves clean and lined up at gas stations Thursday as Hurricane Dorian barreled toward the state’s east coast — with meteorologists fearing it could become a Category 5 storm by the time it makes landfall Sunday.
The storm, currently a Category 1 with 85-mph winds and heavy rains, is expected to grow into a monster over the next two days and at least reach Category 4 — which means gales of more than 130 mph.
It would become a Category 5 if wind speeds surpass 157 mph.
“With Dorian forecast to pass over extremely warm water of the Gulf Stream, where cooled, up-welled water is rapidly replaced by more warm water, you have to be concerned that a category 5 is on the table before reaching the US coast,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski warned Thursday.
Although Dorian is expected to hit Florida, forecasters caution it remains somewhat unpredictable. They haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly where it will hit land, which could be anywhere within a 500-mile stretch between the Florida Keys and Georgia’s southern coast.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the storm “a cone of uncertainty that stretches the entire state.”
The governor, who declared a state of emergency along his state’s eastern and central portions on Wednesday, extended the declaration to all of Florida’s 67 counties on Thursday.
He cautioned residents to expect power outages and flooding when Dorian does hit, and to be prepared for the worst.
”The time to act is now,” DeSantis said at a press conference Thursday. “Do not wait until it’s too late. If you’ve prepared and then don’t end up getting affected, no harm, no foul.”
“But if you don’t prepare and you are affected, that may be something that is difficult to recover from,” he said.
He urged residents to have seven days of supplies on hand.
Shoppers rushed to hardware stores and home improvement retailers for plywood to shore up their homes with the storm bearing down.
Dorian was 330 miles east of the Bahamas Thursday evening, and was expected to reach the southeastern end of the archipelago overnight.
The storm largely spared Puerto Rico earlier in the week when it veered northward before striking the US territory, but it left heavy flooding in its wake.
Downpours from the tail of the hurricane submerged cars and homes along coastal areas in Puerto Rico, with the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood warning for eastern portions of the island.
Source: New York Post