Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4; Florida landfall expected on Tuesday night

Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4; Florida landfall expected on Tuesday night

Shoppers wait in line to get two cases of bottled water ‚ the limit per customer, at the Costco store in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, as central Florida residents prepare for a possible strike by Hurricane Dorian.

"One of the biggest concerns with a slow-moving hurricane like Dorian is that the unsafe weather will last a few days - that's strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge", said FOX 35 Meteorologist Kristin Giannas.

If it makes landfall as a Category 4 storm on Monday as forecast, with sustained winds of around 130 miles per hour, it will be the strongest hurricane to strike Florida's East Coast since Andrew in 1992, according to CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

States of emergency have been declared in more than 25 Florida counties.

Hurricane watches are issued with an expected window of 48 hours, the NHC said.

Landfall could occur anywhere in the forecast cone, which covered a stretch of Florida's east coast on Friday.

Florida residents like Jamison Weeks, general manager at Conchy Joe's Seafood in Port St. Lucie, planned on staying put.

But, because of the difficulty of predicting a storm's course this far out, forecasters cautioned that practically all of Florida, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale could be in harm's way.

"I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened", she said.

In a televised news conference, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Dorian was moving slowly, extending the islands' exposure to the storm.

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Indian River County officials said they will recommend residents of its barrier island voluntarily evacuate once hurricane warnings are issued.

In the meantime, Dorian is expected to "remain an extremely risky major hurricane", the center said, with potentially "life-threatening storm surge".

Other forecasts have the storm not making landfall at all in the U.S. The storm is expected to hit Florida on Monday morning. "We are just asking Floridians, please heed those directives from your local folks", he said, adding, "Those decisions are not made lightly".

"People on Grand Bahama and Abaco in the Bahamas can expect major damage, widespread power outages and a loss of most other utilities", Kottlowski said.

"What's concerning is it's slowed down". "We usually get hundreds of visitors every day, and it's just been one of those days that drives everyone away. We know it'll eventually turn north", he said during a visit to the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center.

"I'm really anxious about the amount of rain we'll be getting". "I'm very concerned because it's going to be a Category 4 storm".

"There are no refiners in Florida, there's only a pipeline, and I can't imagine that would be affected significantly". "We're prepared to respond", Eifert said.

Dorian is projected to make landfall early next week.

AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski of the storm's rapid intensification: "Dorian shifted to the north and travelled over warm open waters, allowing it to undergo rapid strengthening". The incredible NASA video shows the storm swirling above Earth, with the eye of the hurricane also visible.

FEMA has begun moving personnel and equipment into Georgia, including trucks and line crews who would help get electricity back up and running if there is a serious service interruption in Florida, according to a Democratic aide in the US House of Representatives familiar with the briefings.

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