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  1. Hurricane

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

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center moves the track farther north, with landfall possible Sunday or Monday on the state’s east coast.

UPDATE: Dorian projected to hit Florida as Category 3 storm, could become hurricane in coming hours

Tropical Storm Dorian is gathering strength as it nears the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and could make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on Florida’s east coast Sunday or Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The latest advisory moves the projected path farther to the north. However, a great deal of uncertainty remains in the intensity forecast due to differences in the models.

Florida and the Bahamas are expected to see heavy rains later this week and into next week.

Heavy rainfall over portions of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands could produce flash flooding over the next couple of days.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Dorian’s center was located about 60 miles southeast of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour and tropical-storm force winds extending up to 60 miles from its center. It was moving northwest at 13 mph, motion which is expected to continue for the next few days.

The system is forecast to pass over or near the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later today. It is then expected to move to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday, and near or to the east of the central and northwestern Bahamas on Friday and Saturday.

Some strengthening is expected today, and Dorian is forecast to approach hurricane strength when it nears the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Although weakening is possible after the system moves across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the storm is forecast to strengthen late this week and this weekend while passing near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of the Dominican Republic.

The storm is expected to dump 4 to 6 inches of rain on Puerto Rico with isolated amounts up to 10 inches.

Dorian is the fourth tropical storm of this season. If it reaches hurricane strength, it will be the second of the Atlantic storm season.

Meanwhile, a fifth tropical storm, Erin, has formed in the Atlantic. Located about 435 miles west of Bermuda and 265 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. as of 5 a.m., it is not expected to be a threat to the United States but is expected to track near Nova Scotia and Newfoundland later this week.

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

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

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‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

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