Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as the National Hurricane Center’s forecasts showed Hurricane Dorian increasing in strength and intensity as it barrels towards Florida this weekend. Dorian strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday as it hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and headed toward Puerto Rico. According to ABC News, the storm is projected to move north after passing to the east of Puerto Rico and could evolve into a Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes U.S. landfall. Forecasters told the Associated Press that Dorian could make landfall anywhere from South Florida to South Carolina on Sunday or Monday.
In the meantime, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are expected to experience landslides, flooding, and power outages. Puerto Rico could also get winds up to 75 miles per hour and up to 10 inches of rain through Wednesday afternoon and evening. About 23,000 residents on the island reported having no power early Wednesday afternoon. Toppled trees and power outages were reported in Barbados and St. Lucia. “Dorian brings uncertainty, and, for those of us who experienced the storms of 2017, uncomfortable memories,” British Virgin Islands Gov. Augustus Jaspert told the AP. The Puerto Rican government said it was prepared for Dorian, and President Trump recently approved an emergency declaration to provide federal assistance to the territory.