Dorian strengthens, entering warm waters; big threats to Florida

11pm Dorian Update: Strengthening as it enters warmer waters
11 p.m. UPDATE:
Dorian continues to intensify as it moves to the northwest at 13 mph. There was no major change in track at the 11 p.m. update. The eye is becoming better defined and will go through several eyewall replacements in the next few days, a sign of strengthening. The storm is entering a very moist environment, which will allow it to strengthen further.
8 p.m. UPDATE:
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Dorian's eye is becoming more evident as it exits the Caribbean and fully emerges into the warm Atlantic waters. The forecast is coming more in agreement that Dorian will impact somewhere along the Florida east coast. Where exactly? It is too far out to tell. At 4 days out, the margin of error is about 175 miles and the cone is still covering the entire state top to bottom. 

The intensity forecast is more in agreement that it will hit as a major hurricane, at least a Category 3 hurricane sometime between Sunday night into Monday morning.

5 p.m. UPDATE:

Dorian continues to travel to the northwest at about 13 mph. The 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center calls for the hurricane to reach major Category 3, maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, within 72 hours as it travels over the warm waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. The Bermuda high could strengthen and move westward, which will push Dorian to make a turn to the west right into Florida. 
Our team of certified meteorologists is closely monitoring the evolution of Dorian and any signals of a track change. We are still 4 days out and the track could shift slightly north or south. The margin of error 4 days out is of about 175 miles
It is a good time to review your hurricane plans now. 
2 p.m. UPDATE:
Dorian became a hurricane Wednesday afternoon near St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Dorian is moving northwest at 13 mph.
Hurricane Dorian is set to slam Puerto Rico's eastern half, with heavy rains and potential floods and landslides.
The storm is expected to strengthen over warm Atlantic waters and could approach Florida or other parts of the US Southeast coast over the Labor Day weekend as a category 3 hurricane.

EARLIER:

The latest forecasts for Tropical Storm Dorian have the storm impacting Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon and then strengthening possibly to a Category 3 storm as it nears Florida Sunday and Monday. Dorian is a very compact storm with tropical storm-force winds that only extend outward 45 miles
The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center shows Dorian strengthening as it approaches PR and the US Virgin Islands. Maximum sustained winds are at about 70 mph and moving to the northwest at 13 mph. Barometric pressure has lowered to 1003 millibars, another sign of intensification. 
Dorian’s center shift to the north Tuesday afternoon represented a big forecast change for Puerto Rico. The storm is now forecast to enter through Vieques and affect the eastern side of the island, leaving the western side with much less rain and barely any tropical storm-force winds. Rainfall amounts are still forecast to reach 8 inches in some spots over the eastern side of the island.
The same shift to the north represented a change for us in Florida. Since the storm will not have much land to interact with, the storm could come out better once it crosses over to the Atlantic and travels over the warm waters of the Central Bahamas.
The environment across the eastern parts of the Turk and Caicos and Bahamas Islands is conducive for strengthening, models are showing that this system could intensify to a Category 3 hurricane, a major hurricane.
WHAT’S FOR FLORIDA?
Dorian’s shift north could have also influenced where it will make landfall after Puerto Rico. The shift can swing the storm over northern Florida or all the way to the South Carolina coast. There is also the Bermuda High, a semi-permanent high-pressure system located in the Central Atlantic. Some models are now showing that the high could retract eastward, which will allow Dorian to border Florida’s east coast and move up the coast to the Georgia-South Carolina border.
The latest track by the National Hurricane Center places Dorian near Florida by Monday evening. Dorian is forecast to move slowly the next two days, then increase its speed Saturday and slowing a bit on Sunday and Monday. This slowdown could be attributed to the shift eastward of the high-pressure system that the models are trying to grasp, trying to make the storm turn northward before coming too close to Florida. This puts a tentative direct Florida impact on day 5, and with so many days out the margin of error can be 200 miles.
Dorian will try to restructure once it comes out of Puerto Rico and gets on the move again near the eastern portion of the Bahamas. Any fluctuations and center rebuilding could affect the track in the long term.
At this point, residents in Central Florida should have a plan in case the current track for Dorian verifies.
Make sure you have the medications you need. It usually takes a couple of days for prescriptions to be ready. Do you know if you are in an evacuation zone? Where would you go? These are all things you should know at this point. No action is needed yet, but you must review all your plans. 
We will continue to monitor the system and keep you updated on Eyewitness News and on our free WFTV Weather app.
Dorian Will Become A Hurricane

Dorian will become a hurricane – potentially a major one. It will make a direct hit into Florida OR move up toward the Carolinas. Here is why – and exactly what I am seeing with Dorian. Thank you for hanging with me! - Brian Shields, WFTV

Posted by Brian Shields, WFTV on Wednesday, August 28, 2019
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