Tropical Storm Dorian could strengthen to Category 3 hurricane ahead of US landfall

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The latest forecast for Tropical Storm Dorian shows it could strengthen more than expected.

Dorian is currently just east of Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump signed a Emergency Declaration on Tuesday to help make federal emergency aide available for the U.S. territory that is still recovering from Hurricane Maria two years ago.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said Dorian’s maximum sustained winds were at 70 miles per hour. Storms must have sustained winds of above 74 miles per hour to qualify as a hurricane.

Wednesday’s 5 a.m. forecast moved the expected track of Dorian a little further to the north. That put the storm over warmer water for longer, giving it a chance to strengthen.

Wednesday’s 11 a.m. forecast continued that change. It showed the storm could increase to a Category 3 storm by 8 a.m. Sunday. By that forecast, Dorian would have sustained winds at 115 miles per hour.

The forecast still shows the storm making landfall around Florida or Georgia, but it would do so as a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds at 100 miles per hour.

The bottom line for the United States remains in flux, as it is too early to confidently predict the storm’s final path.

You may see some forecasts even predicting that Dorian will turn far enough north to threaten the North Carolina coast, but Don “Big Weather” Schwenneker said it is way to early to worry about that.

“It is way too early to forecast this hitting North Carolina. So if somebody does that today (Wednesday) they’re just trying to get you to click on their website,” Big Weather said.

Still, it’s never too early to be prepared. Here are the things Big Weather says you should have in your hurricane emergency kit.


Dorian is expected to pass very close to or across the eastern tip of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night. Rain and wind will intensify through the day on Wednesday across the U.S. Virgin Islands, then across the British Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico later on Wednesday afternoon.

Dorian is expected to approach the Bahamas toward the end of the week. By the start of the weekend, Dorian could strengthen into a hurricane.

By Sunday morning, Dorian could be a Category 3 storm just off the Florida coast.

The storm looks to weaken slightly before making landfall as a Category 2. The cone of uncertainty puts the storm making landfall somewhere along the Florida or Georgia coast.

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