Hurricane Dorian is now expected to become a Category 4 storm, with winds reaching 130 miles per hour within 72 hours as it barrels toward Florida’s east coast, aiming to become the first major hurricane to hit that area in 15 years.
The hurricane’s center was located about 220 miles (354 kilometers) north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico at 11 a.m. New York time, moving northwest with sustained winds of about 85 miles per hour, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Dorian is expected to gain strength as it moves over the water, with landfall expected over the Labor Day weekend.
While it’s too early to say where Dorian will hit, concern is growing among residents, vacationers and farmers. On its current path toward the central coast, it could impact counties with average insured values of $53 billion, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, while Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research, sees losses in the $10 billion range. About 60% of the main orange-growing region could eventually be affected.
“There is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida east coast late this weekend or early next week, although it is too soon to determine where the highest storm surge will occur,” according to the Hurricane Center update.
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