ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dorian became a hurricane earlier Wednesday afternoon right over St. Thomas. The storm continues to move away from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and toward Florida.
- Dorian could become major hurricane by weekend
- BELOW: 5 p.m. coordinates, state of emergency information
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There were several reports of hurricane force winds around the Virgin Islands. Since Dorian is very small, much of Puerto Rico avoided any kind of significant impact.
Dorian is expected to continue on a NNW heading through Friday, which would bring it east of the Central Bahamas. After that, a west or WNW move should take place as an upper low to the west of the hurricane and a ridge of high pressure to the NE of it both move westward and force Dorian in that direction.
For day 4 and 5, Dorian looks to be heading toward the East Coast of Florida. There are many indications that at some point, a turn northward will begin. This is the challenge of the track forecast but it remains highly uncertain as to where and when that turn will occur. As a result of that, there are solutions that turn Dorian north before hitting the East Coast, others turn it north while over Florida, and some after it crosses the state.
The track from the various models has shifted south today. The Euro and GFS Ensembles have all taken a southward jog which could have big implications down the road. As you can see from the GFS Ensemble Plots below, the many members now bring South Florida the possibilities and not any are in NE Florida. A big change from even earlier today. The Euro Model Ensembles are similar.
Also, exactly how far north it gets in the short term would determine how far north it is when it turns westward toward Florida. So, as a small storm and a large potential for day 4 to 5 error, at this point, it is too early to tell exactly where Dorian will go.
As far as intensity, Dorian will be in a favorable environment for further strengthening through the rest of the week and into the weekend and Dorian could become a major hurricane (category 3+) by the weekend.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday afternoon issued a state of emergency for counties in the path of the storm.
“Today, I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure Florida is fully prepared for Hurricane Dorian,” said Gov. DeSantis. “It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely. Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster. I will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian closely with emergency management officials. The state stands ready to support all counties along the coast as they prepare.”
A state of emergency also protects people from price gouging, like at the gas pumps. Here's what you need to know and how to file a complaint with Attorney General Ashley Moody if you get ripped off.
SUMMARY OF 11 PM INFORMATION
- LOCATION...19.7N 66.0W
- ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM N OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...85 MPH...140 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 320 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...986 MB...29.12 INCHES
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Be sure to stay tuned for the tropical update at :49 past the hour.