1. Hurricane

Dorian is likely to become a hurricane, and Florida’s projected to be in its path

The National Hurricane Center’s latest projection shows the storm could start lashing South Florida on Saturday evening.
The tropical storm is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday and now has Florida in its projected path. [National Hurricane Center]
Published Aug. 26
Updated Aug. 28

LATEST UPDATE: Tropical Storm Dorian gathering strength, could hit Florida as Category 2 hurricane

Tropical Storm Dorian is projected to strengthen into a hurricane on Tuesday. If the storm continues to gain intensity the latest track shows a Hurricane Dorian could start menacing Florida by this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Dorian and its 60 mph winds could become a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds by Wednesday, forecasters say, as it passes near Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Tropical-storm force winds could be felt in South Florida as early as Friday, and Puerto Rico has already issued a tropical storm warning to its residents.

The hurricane center’s latest projection then shows the storm heading toward the Bahamas and South Florida by Saturday evening.

“We’re just telling people to keep an eye on it over the next five to seven days,” National Weather Service forecaster John McMichael said. “Right now it’s too far out to tell if it will survive its trek over the Caribbean.”

The National Hurricane Center said Floridians and should start paying attention to Dorian now.

“While uncertainty is high, wind and rain impacts are possible in the Bahamas and Florida later this week and this weekend," said the hurricane center’s 5 p.m. Monday bulletin. “Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Dorian and ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.”

Dorian’s center was located about 60 miles east-southeast of Barbados and 165 miles east-southeast of St. Lucia on Monday, according to the hurricane center. The storm continued to move west-northwest at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph, and tropical-storm-force winds and wind gusts extending as far as 45 miles from its center.

If Dorian becomes a hurricane by Tuesday, it’d have almost two days in open water to strengthen before hitting land ― either the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.

The hurricane center’s projections show the storm is most likely to pass over the Dominican Republic on Thursday, where wind sheer and mountains could weaken it. The storm was initially supposed to hit the Bahamas as a depression Friday, but is now likely arrive as a tropical storm.

Forecasters also project a Hurricane Dorian moving along a more easterly path, meaning it could hit Puerto Rico instead, or miss landfall altogether before entering the Bahamas.

There are still too many “what ifs” to get a clearer picture of the storm’s future strength and path, particularly with how it might impact Florida. Current forecasts show the most likely impact could be tropical storm-like conditions in South Florida.

Dorian formed into a tropical storm, the fourth of this season, this past weekend. It outpaced a low-pressure system that moved up the Florida coast over the weekend and is now almost 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

The system’s center moved over southeast Florida but then pushed out into the Atlantic as it headed north. That system is still highly likely to form into a tropical cyclone within two days but should keep moving east into the Atlantic.

Dorian would become the second hurricane of the season. In July. Hurricane Barry hit Louisiana as a Category 1 storm.

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

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NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

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  1. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 11 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    It is projected to pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday and east of the southeastern Bahamas on Sunday.
  2. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    The system should stay well east of the United States, according to forecasters.
  3. Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to become reach hurricane status on Friday. National Hurricane Center
    Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane status on Friday.
  4. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  5. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    The depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Jerry by early Wednesday, then strengthen to a hurricane by the weekend.
  6. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  7. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  8. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  9. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
  10. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    A north-northwest turn is expected by Sunday, just as the storm is projected to become a hurricane.