Gov. Ron Desantis has declared a state of emergency following Hurricane Dorian’s expected landfall in Florida.
According to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Dorian will make landfall Saturday as a potential Category 3 storm.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the storm was crossing the U.S. Virgin Islands and declared a Category 1 hurricane with maximum winds of 80 mph. The latest update from NWS-Jax said the storm is expected to be off the coast of Cape Canaveral by Saturday morning as a Category 3 with predicted wind speeds of 115 mph.
NWS-Jax meteorologist Nate McGinnis said more changes in the storm are expected as it arrives closer to Florida.
“The storm is now east of the islands and it’s headed toward the Atlantic,” McGinnis said, “it’s going to have several days to strengthen.”
Previous doppler predictions showed that Hurricane Dorian was expected to make landfall in Puerto Rico, McGinnis said. Tall mountains in the islands of Hispaniola would have caused the storm to disband after landfall, making the storm weaker.
Although Hurricane Dorian is still five days away from making landfall in Florida, it’s important for Floridians to begin making preparations now, he said.
“At this time, all you can do is plan,” he said. “Make sure you have all the supplies you need, so you’re not running to the nearest Walmart trying to find supplies at the last minute.”
McGinnis also said people should have an evacuation plan in place and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, if deemed necessary.
The National Hurricane Center will announce an update on Hurricane Dorian at 8 p.m. EST.
Contact Melissa Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @melissamh_.
This GOES-16 satellite image taken Wednesday, Aug. 28, 209, at 17:20 UTC and provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Dorian, a Category 1 hurricane, crossing over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Forecasters say it could grow to Category 3 status as it nears the U.S. mainland as early as the weekend. (NOAA via AP)