Hurricane Dorian to strengthen over weekend, make landfall on 2 September; Georgia, Florida declare emergency

  • Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 storm, is likely to intensify over the weekend and make landfall in the state of Flordia on Monday

  • Weather forecasters expect Dorian to become a major hurricane on Friday and make landfall on Florida's east coast on Monday night

  • Both Flordia and Georgia have declared a state of emergencyin various counties

Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale for measuring hurricane intensity, is likely to intensify over the weekend and make landfall in the state of Florida on Monday, falling on Labour Day weekend (2 September). Weather forecasters expect Dorian to become a major hurricane on Friday and make landfall on Florida's east coast on Monday night.

Florida residents braced for a hurricane on Thursday that was threatening to hit the centre of the state over the Labour Day weekend, comparing the storm to the 1935 Labour Day Hurricane, the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States that killed 408 people. President Donald Trump said it appeared the storm’s winds would be “unbelievably high”.

He posted a video on Twitter encouraging Florida residents to prepare for Hurricane Dorian as the government makes its own preparations. In a video posted on Thursday evening, Trump said Dorian initially appeared to be a small storm but has grown quickly over the past day.

Trump said: "It's looking like it could be an absolute monster."

A major hurricane is given the tag of Category 3 or greater. A Category 4 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of at least 208 kilometres per hour.

"If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that's a big deal," University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told AP, "A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims."

Both Florida and Georgia have declared a state of emergency in various counties.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 26 counties on the state’s east coast, extended it on Thursday to the whole of Florida. He also cleared the way to bring in more fuel and call out the National Guard if necessary, and local governments distributed sandbags. Some residents used community Facebook groups to share updates on grocery stores getting new shipments of water.

At the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, NASA decided to move indoors the mobile launch platform for its new mega-rocket under development. A Rolling Stones concert on Saturday at the Hard Rock Stadium near Miami was moved up to Friday night.

According to Reuters, towns nearby Florida were seen checking storm drains and back-up generators for waste-water plants as well as setting up round-the-clock shifts for emergency personnel.
The University of Central Florida said its main campus in Orlando would be closed on Friday afternoon.

 Hurricane Dorian to strengthen over weekend, make landfall on 2 September; Georgia, Florida declare emergency

Hurricane Dorian approaches the coast of Florida, NASA Satellite image. Reuters

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in 12 counties to assist with storm readiness, response and recovery. An official order from Kemp said the storm system "has the potential to produce catastrophic impacts to citizens" throughout the southeast coastal region of the United States.

The US Coast Guard said ocean-going commercial vessels should make plans to leave South Florida ports. "The risk of devastating hurricane-force winds along the Florida east coast and peninsula late this weekend and early next week continues to increase," the  National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned in an advisory.

Jeff Byard, an associate administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told AP that Dorian is likely to "create a lot of havoc with infrastructure, power and roads," but gave assurances FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is prepared to handle it, even though the Trump administration is shifting hundreds of millions of dollars from FEMA and other agencies to deal with immigration at the Mexican border.

Trump cancelled a trip to Poland, who had been scheduled to attend World War II anniversary commemorations this weekend, said he would focus on preparations for the approaching storm.

"Our highest priority is the safety and security of the people in the path of the hurricane," he told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2019 14:10:13 IST