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Dorian Strengthening, Now Expected to Become a Category 2 Hurricane by Sunday

Tropical Storm Dorian has strengthened overnight, and is now forecast to become a Category 2 hurricane prior to landfall.

There is still uncertainty in the future path and intensity of the storm, but forecast trends suggest Dorian will be a significant threat to Florida or the Southeast U.S. coastline Sunday or Monday.

Wednesday 5 am Forecast from the National Hurricane Center

In their 5 am Wednesday morning update, The National Hurricane Center said Dorian was located 85 miles southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Top sustained winds had increased to 60 mph, and the storm was moving northwest at 13 mph.

On its current path, the storm will pass near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Wednesday, where Tropical Storm Warnings and Hurricane Watches are in effect. A summary of the latest official advisory is provided in the section below.

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The center of the storm reformed farther to the north on Tuesday, which means the storm is less likely to move over the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola. As a result, Dorian is not likely to weaken quite as much over Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands and be over the open waters east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday.

A strong ridge of high pressure is expected to build near the Mid Atlantic coast over the weekend, causing Dorian to turn toward more toward west in the general direction of Florida. The vast majority of the computer models forecast this scenario, but a few of the models forecast a weak trough over the Ohio Valley to disrupt the steering ridge. If this were to happen, Dorian could slow down on its approach to Florida and turn more toward the Carolinas.

The northward shift in the models was first identified Tuesday evening, to which the National Hurricane Center reminded its users that the average 5-day track error is around 200 miles.

Very little wind shear, warm waters, and greater moisture will surround Dorian as it approaches the Bahamas and Florida this weekend. These factors all suggest Dorian will become a hurricane on its approach. The latest National Hurricane Center Forecast makes the storm a category 2 hurricane just offshore from Florida on Sunday evening. However, in its technical discussion, the Hurricane Center said it may have to adjust the intensity forecast upward in future forecasts as several of the models are projecting a stronger hurricane.

Suggested Actions

Information in this section includes some opinion, with the intent of helping you prepare for a possible emergency.

As of Wednesday morning, potential landfall from Tropical Storm (or Hurricane) Dorian is still more than 100 hours away. There is never a bad time to prepare. However, some Floridians now might have a preparation deadline as it relates to this storm.

Forecasters say that residents and vacationers should continue to monitor the progress of Dorian in the coming days and ensure they have hurricane plan in place. If you feel overwhelmed, or don't know where to start, we've created a page of helpful tips to get you started.

LOCAL ALERTS
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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
Sources include the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and other nearby traffic information.

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