Hurricane Dorian strengthens slightly, expected to be major hurricane

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Dorian has now moved to the north of the Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and is getting more organized over the western Atlantic.

Current sustained winds have increased to 80 mph (gusting to 100), pressure has dropped to 997 millibars, and it is expected to strengthen even more to a major hurricane over the next few days in the warm Atlantic waters.

The latest model runs show Hurricane Dorian is still on track to move northwest around 14 mph, but by Friday we’ll see a westerly shift which is where guidance becomes a bit more uncertain and models spread out along the coast of Georgia and Florida.

Therefore, Friday will be a very telling day in terms of how far westward this storm turns. If landfall is north of Cape Canaveral, there is a very good chance we won’t see any impacts from this storm. However, a south Florida landfall will put Dorian into the Gulf and could pose a serious hazard for the northern Gulf Coast stretching from Louisiana to the panhandle.

It is still too early to talk about specific impacts to the panhandle, but it is never too early to make sure you have a hurricane kit prepared. Residents need to be prepared for the possibility of heavy rain early next week, more likely Tuesday to Thursday, unless the track majorly shifts.

Governor Ron DeSantis has been encouraging all Florida residents to be prepared for a hurricane and on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for counties in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

The 13 First Alert Storm Team will continue to monitor Dorian’s progress through the Caribbean Sea and updates will be posted here as well as on our social media accounts.

You can also track the tropics by downloading the WMBB VIPIR mobile app for Android here or iOS here.

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