Published: Thu, September 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hurricane Dorian Menaces Florida's East Coast

Hurricane Dorian Menaces Florida's East Coast

If it makes landfall as a category 4 storm it could come with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, said Friday the state's largest utility is ready for the storm, with crews and equipment positioned to start restoring power after sustained winds dip below 35 miles per hour.

Hurricane Dorian is continuing its churn toward the USA, and President Trump's so-called winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, is directly in its path.

DeSantis continued advising residents to prepare essential supplies -- water, food and medicine -- for at least seven days. It strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane in the afternoon, and there were fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida's east coast in almost 30 years. According to the NHC, Dorian could now bring strong winds and life-threatening storm surge along the Georgia and SC coasts as it moves north next week.

"It's going to be pretty scary because you're going to have this big hurricane sitting off the coast of Florida and it's not going to move", Maue said. That raised fears Dorian could become the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida's east coast in almost 30 years.

"The president's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts", the White House said in a statement.

When the state issues evacuation orders, as the path of the storm is better known, tolls will be lifted and shoulders of roads will be opened in some areas to speed the flow of traffic, DeSantis said. It is now moving at a pace of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h), giving it more time to intensify before making landfall.

"We were hoping it would just barrel through and leave", said Ben Malik, the mayor of Cocoa Beach, about 136km north of Port St Lucie.

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One NOAA hurricane model showed Dorian bringing between 1 and 2 feet of rain "for basically every coastal county from Miami to North Carolina", said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

As Dorian closed in, Labor Day weekend plans were upended. The big cruise lines began rerouting their ships.

It's on track to smack Grand Bahama island on Sunday and likely crash somewhere along the Florida or Georgia coasts around Monday morning. Supermarkets ran out of bottled water, and long lines formed at gas stations, with fuel shortages reported in places.

The storm was expected to approach the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday and then move over or near that area on Sunday. Anything of or above Category 3 is considered a "major" hurricane.

FPL, which serves 10 million people through roughly 4.9 million customer accounts, had to restore power to 4.4 million customers because of Hurricane Irma, which traveled up the state from the Keys to Jacksonville in September 2017.

"The risk of devastating hurricane-force winds along the Florida east coast and peninsula early next week has also increased, although it is too soon to determine where the strongest winds will occur".

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is warning Floridians not to let their guard down despite shifts in forecasts showing Hurricane Dorian possibly staying off the shore of the state.

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