Hurricane Dorian could potentially hit Florida as a Category 4 storm Sunday evening.
Dorian is currently 1,100 miles SE of Gainesville with sustained winds of 85 mph, which are expected to increase, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. As of Thursday morning, the hurricane is predicted to make landfall with anticipated winds of 135 mph.
Meteorologist Ben Nelson said although Dorian is still days away, Floridians should begin to prepare.
“There’s going to be a pretty significant area that will be impacted,“and you should really, at this point, try to focus on if you’re in the forecast cone or not,” Nelson said.
NWS-Jax is predicting the hurricane will make landfall in Florida Sunday night or Monday morning, spanning almost up to Tallahassee under the forecast cone.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in Florida, but no hurricane watch for Alachua County has been issued.
As of Thursday morning, Alachua County Public Schools has not cancelled classes.
For inland areas that experience heavy rainfall, such as Gainesville, Nelson said it’s important for residents to prepare for flooding.
“Flooding is going to be a potential because there is the expectation that Dorian is going to slow down as it nears landfall on Sunday and Monday,” he said.
Other potential hazards Dorian could bring include strong wind gusts and tornadoes, especially for those on the east coast.
People should also prepare for “lengthy power outages,” especially those with pets or who are dependent on medical supplies, he said.
Nelson advises residents to “take care of each other” by checking up on neighbors, especially the elderly. Despite these advisories, it’s still not time for anyone to panic just yet, Nelson said.
“I don’t think it’s time for anyone to panicsimply because you’ve got at least today, Friday and Saturday to prepare,” he said. You’ve got plenty of time between now and then to prepare.”
The National Hurricane Center will announce their next update on Hurricane Dorian at 5:00 p.m. EST.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham, left, looks on as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about Tropical Storm Dorian outside of the the National Hurricane Center, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)