Dorian projected to hit Florida on Labor Day as major hurricane
August 30, 2019
The first major Atlantic storm of the year to threaten the United States is barreling toward the Florida coast. Hurricane Dorian is projected to reach Category 4 status when it is expected to reach southeast Florida on Labor Day. Certain commercial vehicle restrictions have been suspended in Florida and Georgia.
As the Atlantic is in peak hurricane season, Hurricane Dorian is the first storm to pose a significant threat to coastal states in 2019. With possible landfall in Florida projected to occur on Labor Day, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, Aug. 28.Still a few days away from potential landfall, it is uncertain exactly where the storm may go and whether the hurricane will weaken, strengthen or sustain current wind speeds. Regardless, Florida and nearby states are preparing for the worst-case scenario.
Some, including President Donald Trump, say it could be as big as 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, one of the most destructive hurricanes to strike the area.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2019
With such uncertainty, Gov. DeSantis expanded his state of emergency declaration on Thursday, Aug. 29, to include all 67 counties in Florida. As of publication time, no mandatory evacuations had been ordered. However, in the event evacuation orders are given, the Florida Department of Transportation will lift tolls in affected areas.
On Friday, Aug. 30, President Trump approved Florida’s emergency declaration. The president’s approval will give Florida access to federal resources, including aid from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for 12 counties on Friday morning. Kemp also issued a second executive order that suspends restrictions on hours of service for truckers assisting in storm preparation, response and recovery, expanding on the existing suspension in Florida.
As of 1 p.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 30, Hurricane Dorian was located approximately 625 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Fla. With maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, Dorian was a Category 3 hurricane on Friday morning, making it officially a “major” hurricane. However, the National Hurricane Center’s forecasts predict sustained winds of nearly 140 mph by Labor Day, which will put the storm in Category 4 status.
According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm-force winds could hit Florida as early as Sunday morning. Landfall is expected sometime in the second half of Monday near West Palm Beach as a Category 3 storm.