Hurricane Dorian got stronger and shifted slightly early Saturday. It is now on course to potentially miss a direct hit with Florida and make landfall in the Carolinas.
“There’s been a notable change overnight to the forecast of Dorian after Tuesday,” the National Hurricane Center said on Twitter Saturday morning. They are stressing that this shift does not rule out the possibility of the storm making landfall on the Florida coast.
Dorian became a potentially devastating Category 4 storm Friday evening while it was building in the Atlantic Ocean and was on its course to the southeastern United States.
“It’s important to stress that this doesn’t paint Florida as out of the woods yet,” said Kathryn Prociv, a meteorologist for NBC News.
“Florida is still very much in the red zone,” she added.
Dorian will move westward through the weekend but is then supposed to turn northward as it approaches the east coast of Florida early next week, the center said. It will bring “risks of life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall and flooding along its path.”
As of the NHC’s 8 a.m. ET advisory Saturday, the storm was located 280 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and 445 miles east of West Palm Beach.
This new forecast track has narrowed the “Cone of Concern,” as Miami-Dade County no longer faces the threat of the center of the hurricane. But portions of Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, remain in the possible path of a Dorian landfall, according to the NHC.
Dorian was expected to move over the Atlantic “well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas” Saturday, and to be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday. The hurricane is forecast to be near Florida’s east coast late Monday, the hurricane center said.
President Donald Trump said he would discuss possible evacuations Sunday in a scheduled meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.
“We were thinking about Florida evacuations, but it’s a little bit too soon,” Trump said. “We’ll probably have to make that determination on Sunday.”
Trump told reporters Friday as he prepared to board Marine One to a weekend trip to Camp David that he feared for the entire state of Florida, and Georgia was possibly “in this path also.”
The president said his own Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, was a “dead center” target of Dorian. “Look,” he said, “Mar-a-Lago can handle itself. It’s a very powerful place.”
Trump tried to reassure the nation that federal officials were prepared for the worst. “We have FEMA, we have first responders, we have tremendous law enforcement,” he said.