Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands breathed a huge sigh of relief Wednesday night as Hurricane Dorian moved away from them. The result was far less damage than had been feared.
The question is now whether Florida will have similar luck, according to forecasters, who predict Dorian could hit the state hard — possibly at Category 3 strength.
If the storm’s current track stays in place, Dorian could be “the strongest hurricane to hit Central Florida in over 30 years,” said Glenn Richards, meteorologist for FOX 35 in Orlando.
“Hurricane-force sustained winds would be carried across the entire width of the state if the current forecast holds,” he warned.
As the storm moved across the Caribbean, people in Florida were starting to get ready. Local and county governments were distributing sandbags and many residents were rushing to stores for water, canned foods and emergency supplies.
At a Publix supermarket in Fort Lauderdale, Jerry Pollack told Miami FOX affiliate WSVN-TV he was there to buy several gallons of bottled water.
“Just to be prepared,” Pollack told the station.
“It’s supposed to go further north,” he said of the hurricane, “but we’ll save these [water bottles] till November.”
“At this point it’s all about preparation,” Tracy Jackson, Broward County’s director of emergency management, told the station. “Everybody should already have an idea about what they’re going to do when the storm’s threatening. This is a great time to verify those things.”
“All Floridians on the East Coast should have 7 days of supplies, prepare their homes & follow the track closely,” Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote in a tweet Wednesday before declaring a state of emergency for the counties expected to be most affected.
Dennis Feltgen, a Hurricane Center meteorologist in Miami, said Dorian could hit anywhere along the southern Atlantic coast, from South Carolina to South Florida.
Before the storm, President Donald Trump sent a tweet assuring islanders that “FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job.”