ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Storm Dorian will possibly become a hurricane in the coming days as the storm remains on a direct path to Florida.
The latest track for Dorian shows a projected landfall forecast near Melbourne by Sunday at 8 p.m., according to News 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells.
As of Tuesday at 11 p.m., Dorian was about 275 miles southeast of Ponce, Puerto Rico and was moving west-northwest at 13 mph. Dorian is packing sustained winds of 50 mph. Sorrells said the biggest takeaway from the 8 p.m. advisory is that the storm is heading toward the southwest corner of Puerto Rico.
Tuesday night, President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico, which will allow the island to receive federal assistance during the response to the storm.
The latest track shows Dorian near Category 1 hurricane strength as it approaches Puerto Rico Wednesday. Dorian could dump up to 8 inches of rain.
Dorian is expected to weaken as it moves across the higher terrain of Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system could gradually re-strengthen Thursday and Friday as it passes near or to the east of the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas, forecasters predict.
Dorian will likely be a tropical storm Friday over the Bahamas and move closer to Florida by Saturday night.
"There is a chance for rapid intensification just before making landfall somewhere along our east coast," News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said.
Dorian could make landfall in Florida as a tropical storm or even a Category 1 hurricane this weekend.
"We will see the impacts in Central Florida, including some rain from Dorian, well before landfall, possibly by late Friday or early Saturday," Bridges said. "It is still too early to tell specifics about our impacts, however."
Hurricane season runs through November, with Sept. 10 marking the peak.
The next three named storms will be called Erin, Fernand and Gabrielle.
Watches and warnings
A hurricane watch is in effect for:
- Puerto Rico
A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Samana
A tropical storm watch is in effect for:
- Dominican Republic from Samana to Puerto Plata
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.
A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Watch News 6 for more weather coverage.