Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for Florida counties in the path of Hurricane Dorian, which is currently forecast to make landfall as a powerful Category 3 storm late this weekend.
“Today, I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure Florida is fully prepared for Hurricane Dorian,” DeSantis said Wednesday in a news release. “It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely.”
The storm quickly intensified on Wednesday, strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph by the afternoon. It is forecast to further intensify once it reaches the warm waters of the open Atlantic, and as a Category 3 storm, it could make landfall anywhere along Florida’s east coast.
DeSantis is urging all residents in Dorian’s potential path to be prepared, and the state of emergency allows local and state governments ample time to prepare.
“Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster,” DeSantis said. “I will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian closely with emergency management officials. The state stands ready to support all counties along the coast as they prepare.”
The State Emergency Operations Center will activate to a Level 2 on Thursday, according to the release.
“Because of the uncertainty in the track of this storm, every resident along the East Coast needs to be ready,” said Jared Moskowitz, Florida Division of Emergency Management director. “As updates come out, it’s important that Floridians continue to pay attention to media and local officials as the track of this storm has been changing and can continue to change rapidly.
“By having an executive order in place and by activating the State Emergency Operations Center to a Level 2, we are fully prepared to support any community that might be impacted.”
The entire east coast was within the storm’s National Hurricane Center forecast cone as of Wednesday afternoon, and projections call for rainfall totals of 4-8 inches, with as much as 10 inches in isolated areas.