An increasingly alarming Hurricane Dorian menaced a corridor of some 10 million people—and put Walt Disney World and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in its crosshairs—as it steamed toward Florida on Friday, Aug. 30, with the potential to become the most powerful storm to hit the state’s east coast in nearly 30 years.
Becoming scarier with seemingly every update from forecasters, the storm strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 in the afternoon and was expected to become a potentially catastrophic Category 4 with winds of almost 140 mph before blowing ashore late Monday or early Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center’s projected track showed Dorian hitting around Palm Beach County, where Mar-a-Lago is situated, then moving inland over the Orlando area.
Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents to listen to their local officials as they decide whether to evacuate before Dorian hits the state early next week.
At a Friday briefing in Tallahassee, DeSantis said the storm’s uncertain path and the fact that the impacts won’t be felt as early as initially anticipated means county emergency management officials are “taking the time to digest what it means and then make decisions.”
The governor said there will be evacuations. But he added that if people evacuate too soon, they could be heading into the path of the storm if the path changes.
DeSantis has declared a state of emergency, clearing the way to bring in more fuel.
As Dorian closed in, it played havoc with people’s Labor Day weekend plans. Major airlines began allowing travelers to change their reservations without a fee. The major cruise lines began rerouting their ships.
Disney World and the other big resorts in Orlando found themselves in the storm’s projected path.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press