Florida governor declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Dorian

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TAMPA (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for counties in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

The Governor is urging all Floridians on the East Coast to prepare for impacts, as the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project Hurricane Dorian will make landfall on Florida’s East Coast as a major hurricane. Exact counties have yet to be announced.

Dorian strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday afternoon. It has since strengthened and, as of 5 p.m., has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

“This system is showing little hints that it’s trying to develop an eye,” Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Ian Oliver said. “Once it does so, that’s when we can see Hurricane Dorian continue to strengthen.”

The latest cone shows intensification Friday afternoon with Hurricane Dorian reaching 105 mph winds.

“From there, that’s where we start to see a major hurricane where it maintains that intensity, unfortunately, it looks like just east and north of the Bahamas and then moving toward the east coast of Florida,” Ian Oliver said. “The possibility is increasing that a powerful major hurricane could strike the east coast somewhere along there.”

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Dorian is moving away from the northeastern Caribbean Sea. It’s about 45 miles northwest of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The NHC says Dorian should continue to move near or over the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during the next several hours, then move over the Atlantic Thursday and Friday.

“Dorian is forecast to strengthen and become a powerful hurricane during the next few days over the Atlantic waters,” the outlook says.

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