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The National Hurricane Center said the Category 1 storm is expected to strengthen into a potentially catastrophic Cat 4 with winds of 130 mph and slam into the U.S. on Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia – a 500-mile stretch that reflected the high degree of uncertainty this far out.
As of late Thursday morning, Dorian was centered about 220 miles northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, its winds blowing at 85 mph as it moved northwest at 13 mph.
11am Dorian Update: No major change in the track, but it’s now expected to strengthen to a category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida. pic.twitter.com/2CO9txOSHA
— Brittany Bell (@BrittanyABC11) August 29, 2019
The National Hurricane Center’s projected track had the storm blowing ashore midway along the Florida peninsula, southeast of Orlando and well north of Miami or Fort Lauderdale. But because of the difficulty of predicting its course this far ahead, the “cone of uncertainty” covered nearly the entire state.
Forecasters said Dorian could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to the Southeastern coast, with a foot possible in places, and trigger life-threatening flash floods.
“Long ways to go in this forecast, so far it stays south and we (North Carolina) do not take a hit from this hurricane,” ABC11 Meteorologist Don “Big Weather” Schwenneker said.
However, Dorian will likely still bring some rain to North Carolina.
“Eventually all that moisture turns north. So I do think we’ll see at least some rainfall from this, mid to late week next week,” Big Weather said.
With it being hurricane season, there’s nothing wrong with hoping for the best and being prepared for the worst. Here are the things Big Weather says you should have in your hurricane emergency kit.
Duke Energy is staying prepared and vigilant.
The utility company serves customers in Florida and the Carolinas. Company leaders said they are closely monitoring the storm and preparing to decide where to deploy crews.
“I think you’ll see us make a decision in the next day or two on whether we’re moving crews, because I do know we typically want to have those crews in place ahead of the storm,” Duke Energy Spokesperson Jeff Brooks said.
Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands
Dorian blew through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday.
Puerto Rico seemed to be spared any heavy wind and rain, a huge relief on an island where blue tarps still cover some 30,000 homes nearly two years after Hurricane Maria. The island’s 3.2 million inhabitants also depend on an unstable power grid that remains prone to outages since it was destroyed by Maria.
Several hundred customers were without power across Puerto Rico, said Ángel Figueroa, president of a utility workers union. Police said an 80-year-old man in the town of Bayamón died after he fell trying to climb to his roof to clear it of debris ahead of the storm.
Dorian caused an island-wide blackout in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and scattered outages in St. Croix, government spokesman Richard Motta said.
No serious damage was reported in the British Virgin Islands, where Gov. Augustus Jaspert said crews were already clearing roads and inspecting infrastructure by late Wednesday afternoon.
Copyright © 2019 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.