◊ Hurricane Dorian 2019 Florida ◊
♦ Hurricane Dorian News Today ♦ … — Tropical Storm Dorian is expected to become a hurricane as it barrels toward Puerto Rico, where residents are preparing for a lashing of heavy rains and high winds that will test the island two years after Hurricane Maria’s devastation.
The outer edges of the storm began hitting the eastern coast of Puerto Rico before 1 p.m. local time, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday. Heavy rain and sustained winds of 70 miles an hour were expected to extend outward up to 80 miles from the center of the storm.
Puerto Rico’s main concern is heavy rainfall, which could provoke flooding and landslides, said Roberto García, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Juan. But for the islands of Vieques and Culebra, off Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, strong winds could prove a more-significant factor, he said.
After making landfall in Puerto Rico, Dorian is forecast to grow into a Category 3 hurricane as it heads toward the east coast of Florida.
“All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near the Florida or southeastern coast of the United States,” the NHC said.
Carlos Acevedo, commissioner of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, said the National Guard was prepared to move supplies to affected areas. He said he had spoken to many of the territory’s mayors, some of whom requested generators, tents and other equipment.
Mr. Acevedo said 23 shelters were open across Puerto Rico, and a smattering of residents had begun to show up. Power and water service largely were functioning normally, he said. The island’s ports had been closed, and some airlines had canceled flights.
“To the citizenry, remain calm,” Mr. Acevedo said. Late Tuesday, President Trump approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico ahead of the storm, ordering federal assistance to supplement local response efforts.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez declared a state of emergency on Monday. The entire island is under a hurricane watch, as well as tropical storm and flash-flood warnings, according to the National Weather Service in San Juan.
The NHC said it expects four to six inches of rainfall on the island, with up to 10 inches in isolated areas, and warned of possible “life-threatening” flash floods and rip currents.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he had been briefed by the state’s emergency management team and urged all residents on the east coast of Florida to be prepared for “strong winds, heavy rain and flooding.”
Puerto Rico was devastated just two years ago by Hurricane Maria. That Category 5 hurricane caused billions of dollars of destruction and was blamed for the loss of thousands of lives.
While expressing confidence in his administration’s preparedness for Dorian on Wednesday, Mr. Trump slammed Puerto Rico’s political system, saying previous federal emergency funds have been spent recklessly by “crooked” politicians.
“Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” he said in a tweet. “I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has had a fraught relationship with Mr. Trump since Hurricane Maria, had earlier called the president out on Twitter, saying he needs to “get out of the way and make way for those of us who are actually doing the work on the ground.”
“Maybe Trump will understand this time around THIS IS NOT ABOUT HIM; THIS IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS; THIS IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES,” she wrote.