WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (CGTN) -- Hurricane Dorian powered toward the U.S. State of Florida with increasing fury Friday, menacing its eastern coast with a potentially devastating direct hit while also giving indications it might just skirt up the U.S. coastline.
Forecasters warned that no one is out of danger and Dorian could still wallop the state with “extremely dangerous” 225 kph (140 mph) winds and torrential rains late Monday or early Tuesday, with millions of people in the crosshairs along with Walt Disney World and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
But some of the more reliable computer models predicted a turn northward that would have Dorian hug the coast, delivering a glancing blow, the National Hurricane Center said. Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters said: “There is hope.”
The faint, encouraging signs came at the end of a day in which Dorian seemed to get scarier with each forecast update. It strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane in the afternoon, and there were fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Florida’s east coast in nearly 30 years.
Late Friday, the National Hurricane Center’s projected new track showed Dorian hitting near Fort Pierce, some 113 kilometers (70 miles) north of Mar-a-Lago, then running along the coastline as it moved north. But forecasters cautioned that the storm’s track was still highly uncertain and even a small deviation could put Dorian offshore or well inland.
Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts.
“This is big and is growing and it still has some time to get worse,” Julio Vasquez said at a Miami fast-food joint next to a gas station that had run out of fuel. “No one knows what can really happen. This is serious.”
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 big cruise lines began rerouting their ships. Disney World and the other resorts in Orlando found themselves in the storm’s projected path.