Labor Day weekend is usually a time for picnics, barbecues, and spending time relaxing with friends and family. Unfortunately, that will simply not be the case for many as hurricane Dorian begins to move north. Already, this massive tropical storm has caused winds over 80 miles per hour when beginning to pass over Puerto Rico and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, leaving destruction in its path. However, the hurricane is not yet at the level of intensity it will be at by the time it reaches the United States mainland. As a result, the state of Florida has declared a state of emergency, according to NPR.
Dorian is expected to reach a Category 3 by the time it reaches the Florida peninsula. As a result, 26 Florida counties remain in a state of emergency. The bulk of the storm is expected to reach Florida by early Monday, providing residents some time to prepare for its arrival.
At 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center detailed this progress Dorian is making and gave an estimate as to where the storm is headed next.
“All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near or over the Florida peninsula. Hurricane conditions are ongoing over portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and could still occur over Vieques, Culebra, and the British Virgin Islands during the next several hours. These winds should subside tonight. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Puerto Rico this afternoon and tonight.”
As is often the case with tropical storms as powerful as this one, flooding has been identified as a major concern. Areas within Dorian’s path will experience life threatening flash flooding, with as much as ten inches of rain.
Tropical-storm-force winds from #Dorian could begin in parts of Florida *as early as* Saturday or Saturday night. Now is the time to begin thinking about what kinds of preparations you might need to make over the next couple of days. https://t.co/f5cqCroirU pic.twitter.com/mIGTVR6SUG— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2019
The Virgin Islands are continuing to deal with the wrath of this major storm. On Wednesday, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced that all schools and public offices will be closed in preparation of the storm. Residents will also have a public curfew set into place that will not permit them to leave their homes from noon to 6:00 a.m. on Thursday. The government also passed out sandbags to residents, offering them a way in which they can secure their properties before the storm arrives.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez Garced, has also taken preventative measures as the storm approaches. He’s put a freeze on prices and also prohibited alcohol sales at this time. There have been 56 shelters put into place to assist anyone who needs it during the storm.