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Hurricane Dorian becomes Cat 4, Central Florida remains in storm's path

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The latest track for Dorian shows the storm striking Florida near Fort Pierce as a Category 3 or 4 storm Tuesday before moving through the Orlando area as a Category 3 hurricane.

As of Friday at 11 p.m. Hurricane Dorian has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 140 mph. Dorian is moving at 10 mph and is still moving northwest. The eye was 545 miles east of West Palm Beach as of Friday evening.

On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas Friday night and Saturday and be over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday. Dorian could arrive near Florida east coast late Monday.

The latest models shows Dorian maintaining a Category 2 while it moves up the Florida peninsula, into Brevard, Eastern Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Flagler counties, placing most of Central Florida in the path of a major hurricane.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas. Hurricane conditions are possible by Sunday.

The center said additional strengthening is expected as the storm approaches the Florida peninsula.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the Dorian's eye and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.

"Many computer models show Dorian riding along the Florida Turnpike up to I-75 as a possible Category 1 hurricane and moving slowly," News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said. "If this is the case, we can expect flooding rain and possible tornadoes, as well as relentless hurricane-force winds, in Central Florida."

The cone of uncertainty still includes nearly the entire state of Florida and south Georgia.

In a video he tweeted Thursday evening, President Donald Trump said Dorian could be an "absolute monster."

Trump signed an emergency declaration for Florida Friday which gives the state emergency federal air to help with local response efforts.

The Florida National Guard activated approximately 2,000 soldiers and airmen to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. The National Guard will deploy high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats and generators for humanitarian assistance as needed.

Hurricane season runs through November.

The next named storm will be called Fernand.

Watches and warnings

The government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane watch for the northwestern Bahamas.

A hurricane watch means 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.

Interests in southern and Central Florida should monitor the progress of Dorian.

Land hazards

Wind: Hurricane conditions are possible in the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Storm surge: A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the northwestern Bahamas. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Rainfall: Dorian is expected to produce the following rainfall accumulations this weekend into the middle of next week:

The northwestern Bahamas and coastal sections of the Southeast United States, should expect 6 to 12 inches, and some isolated area will see 18 inches. The central Bahamas should anticipate 1 to 2 inches of rain and isolated areas could see 4 inches.

This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.

Surf: Swells are likely to begin affecting the east-facing shores of the Bahamas, the Florida East Coast, and the southeastern United States coast during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. 

Orlando-area forecast

Central Florida will see rain Friday, but it's not associated with Dorian.

Expect a 70% coverage of rain, with a high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

"We are pinpointing scattered showers and thundershowers moving in Friday morning and again on and off through the afternoon," Bridges said.

Highs will be in the low 90s over the Labor Day weekend.

Rain chances will be 70% Saturday and Sunday and 90% Monday.

Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.


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