Hurricane Dorian became a major hurricane on Friday, reaching Category 3 status, and forecasters say the storm will pack a three-pronged punch: high winds, storm surge, and severe flooding.
The Bahamas are bracing for a hit, and at present the storm is expected to reach Florida early next week, potentially making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.
“Extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian poses a significant threat to Florida and Northwestern Bahamas,” the National Hurricane Center said on its website on Friday afternoon. “Hurricane Hunter plane find Dorian is now a major hurricane.”
AccuWeather reported on the storm’s possible impact:
More than 20 million Americans face the possibility of feeling impacts from Dorian, including about 3.7 million senior citizens, based on the current forecast.
Dorian poses a serious threat to lives and property from the northern Bahamas, Florida and perhaps areas farther north in the southern United States in the coming days.
“Steering mechanisms will weaken while Dorian passes over very warm water with diminishing wind shear this weekend,” Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather hurricane expert, said in the report.
A Category 4 hurricane can have sustained winds ranging from 130–156 miles per hour.
“Given the potential for significant wind damage, flooding rainfall and a powerful storm surge, the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes for Dorian is also 4 for the mainland U.S.,” Kottlowski said.
AccuWeather reported a hurricane watch has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas.
“People on Grand Bahama and Abaco in the Bahamas can expect major damage, widespread power outages and a loss of most other utilities,” Kottlowski said. “Dangerous flash flooding, as well as storm surge flooding can cause low-lying areas and lower levels of some structures to be submerged for a number of hours.”
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