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Hurricane Dorian picks up steam, menaces Florida

The storm is expected to reach Category 4 before making landfall on the Atlantic Coast.

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 11:58 AM

MIAMI (AP) — Leaving mercifully little damage in its wake in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, a strengthening Hurricane Dorian posed an increasing menace to Florida on Thursday as it swirled toward a possible direct hit on the state over Labor Day weekend.

Along much of Florida's east coast, shoppers rushed to stock up on food and emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores and picked the shelves clean of bottled water. Lines formed at service stations as motorists topped off their tanks and filled gasoline cans.

Forecasters said the Category 1 hurricane is expected to bulk up into a potentially catastrophic Cat 4 with winds of 130 mph (209 kph) before broadsiding the U.S. on Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia — a 500-mile stretch that reflected the high degree of uncertainty this far out.

President Donald Trump said Florida is "going to be totally ready." He tweeted: "Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!"

Josefine Larrauri, a retired translator, went to a Publix supermarket in Miami only to find empty shelves in the water section and store employees unsure of when new cases would arrive.

"I feel helpless because the whole coast is threatened," she said. "What's the use of going all the way to Georgia if it can land there?"

As of late Thursday morning, Dorian was centered about 220 miles (355 kilometers) northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, its winds blowing at 85 mph (140 kph) as it moved northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).

The National Hurricane Center's projected track had the storm blowing ashore midway along the Florida peninsula, southeast of Orlando and well north of Miami. But because of the difficulty of predicting its course this far ahead, the "cone of uncertainty" covered nearly the entire state.

Also imperiled were the Bahamas, with Dorian's projected track running just to the north of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

The storm is expected to pick up steam as it pushes out into warm waters with favorable winds, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy, adding: "Starting tomorrow, it really has no obstacles left in its way," he said.

"If it makes landfall as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that's a big deal," he said. "A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims."

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency, clearing 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.

Dorian blew through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday.

Puerto Rico seemed to be spared any heavy wind and rain, a huge relief on an island where blue tarps still cover some 30,000 homes nearly two years after Hurricane Maria. The island's 3.2 million inhabitants also depend on an unstable power grid that remains prone to outages since it was destroyed by Maria.

Several hundred customers were without power across Puerto Rico, said Ángel Figueroa, president of a utility workers union. Police said an 80-year-old man in the town of Bayamón died after he fell trying to climb to his roof to clear it of debris ahead of the storm.

Dorian caused an island-wide blackout in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and scattered outages in St. Croix, government spokesman Richard Motta said.

No serious damage was reported in the British Virgin Islands, where Gov. Augustus Jaspert said crews were already clearing roads and inspecting infrastructure by late Wednesday afternoon.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297581

Reported Deaths: 6808
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19829231
Hinds18966395
Harrison16899283
Rankin12851265
Jackson12754234
Lee9722163
Madison9522204
Jones8042148
Forrest7295138
Lauderdale6879228
Lowndes6062140
Lamar593982
Lafayette5768114
Washington5235130
Bolivar4632124
Oktibbeha443295
Panola433798
Pearl River4219132
Warren4145115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall406595
Monroe3998129
Union397074
Neshoba3857171
Lincoln3630104
Hancock353378
Leflore3402122
Sunflower321386
Tate304674
Pike302797
Scott296771
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292266
Itawamba290775
Coahoma283169
Tippah280265
Copiah280159
Simpson277881
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255741
Leake254572
Covington250480
Grenada248978
Adams235978
Newton233353
George232845
Winston222579
Jasper214545
Tishomingo213266
Attala210571
Chickasaw202054
Holmes183470
Clay179452
Stone173529
Tallahatchie171839
Clarke170773
Calhoun158728
Smith154333
Yalobusha146036
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123335
Lawrence121621
Carroll119725
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102931
Tunica99824
Claiborne99130
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91523
Quitman77514
Franklin76520
Choctaw70317
Jefferson62927
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499819

Reported Deaths: 10148
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson720331403
Mobile36423741
Madison32708469
Tuscaloosa24457422
Montgomery22805523
Shelby22276219
Baldwin19935289
Lee15083161
Calhoun13963296
Morgan13801255
Etowah13419327
Marshall11460215
Houston10130264
Elmore9515190
Limestone9440139
St. Clair9057228
Cullman9000183
Lauderdale8630214
DeKalb8509175
Talladega7647165
Walker6601260
Jackson6552104
Autauga634792
Blount6256128
Colbert6010121
Coffee5261104
Dale4685107
Russell408134
Franklin400879
Covington3999107
Chilton3922104
Escambia379573
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3434111
Dallas3428142
Pike293173
Marion288996
Lawrence286287
Winston258668
Bibb246558
Marengo245357
Geneva240670
Pickens226357
Barbour213951
Hale212969
Fayette202857
Butler201666
Henry183741
Cherokee178240
Monroe166739
Randolph165441
Washington157136
Macon147845
Crenshaw146955
Clay146254
Cleburne140341
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123125
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter101032
Coosa90324
Greene88932
Choctaw56123
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