The storm could hit Florida as a Category 4 hurricane in the next few days.
Hurricane Dorian is gaining speed as it nears the Florida coast, where it could make landfall as a Category 4 storm over the Labor Day weekend. And when Dorian does roar ashore, its impact could be massive.
The hurricane mostly avoided Puerto Rico and other vulnerable islands earlier this week, many of which are still recovering from deadly storms in years past. But parts of Florida and the Southeast have not fully recovered, including the Panhandle, which is still reeling from Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Vulnerable communities may be unable to evacuate, while toxic sites pose a safety hazard for humans and the environment alike.
As of Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Dorian was growing stronger with a path encircling all of Florida — other nearby states such as Georgia and South Carolina will also likely be hit.
Among the vulnerable cities is Miami, already dubbed “ground zero” for climate change. If the storm’s path holds, Dorian will make landfall slightly north of the city, around West Palm Beach.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has declared a state of emergency and warned residents to take immediate precautions.
“Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster,” DeSantis advised earlier this week.
Exactly when Dorian will make landfall and what its impacts will be is unclear. But based on prior major hurricanes, there are a few things to look out for.
It’s Always the Rain
How destructive Dorian is could depend less on its wind speed and more on what happens when the storm reaches land. Climate scientists have found that warming waters are allowing storms to grow larger and wetter as they suck up more moisture while passing over the ocean. These types of storms typically stall after making landfall, unleashing a torrent of rain.
Those downpours can be devastating, especially in places already prone to flooding linked to sea level rise, like Miami. And rising seas mean that storm surges can move farther inland. According to NHC Director Ken Graham, “a Category 4 storm like this striking Florida could produce a storm surge of 10-foot or greater.”
The National Interest
1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)