Hurricane Dorian crawled at a snail’s pace across the Atlantic on Friday, gaining strength and continuing to menace Florida and the Bahamas with risks of deadly winds and storm surges.
Upgraded to a Category 4 storm, Dorian is forecast to threaten the northwestern Bahamas by the end of the weekend and Florida early next week.
Residents there stocked up on water, food and other supplies, leaving empty shelves and long lines at grocery stores in some places.
One of the latest projections by the hurricane center showed Dorian heading north after it reaches the Florida coast, moving toward Jacksonville and the southern part of Georgia.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
has declared a state of emergency for all of the state’s 67 counties, up from 26 counties. On Friday, President Trump approved the state’s request for a federal emergency declaration that will provide resources and assistance from the federal government.
“Floridians need to be prepared,” Mr. DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee, noting different models show the storm possibly affecting a wide swath of the state. “This is potentially a multiday event, where it will turn slowly across the state.”
Mr. Trump on Friday warned Hurricane Dorian was “one of the biggest hurricanes we’ve seen in a long time.”
At the White House before departing for Camp David, he said he had spoken to Florida Sen. Rick Scott,
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. He said he would have “a lot of experts” at Camp David with him this weekend, and would hold a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday.
“We have a lot of things happening with respect to the hurricane,” he said. “We have to be very careful. It could be one of the biggest that we’ve seen. So far it’s looking not good.”
Though the storm’s path has proved difficult for forecasters to predict, Dorian is expected to make landfall somewhere in central or southern Florida.
The storm is expected to make landfall in Florida Tuesday morning.
Hazardous weather conditions could last for several days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Late Friday, the storm churned about 545 miles east of West Palm Beach, Fla. Moving at a speed of 10 miles an hour, Dorian had sustained winds of nearly 140 miles an hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane warning for the northwestern part of the archipelago. Storm surge could raise water levels there as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide and bring large, destructive waves, the hurricane center said. Dorian was also expected to move slower starting Friday evening.
Florida has delivered 860,000 bottles of water to counties ahead of the storm, Mr. DeSantis said. Over 1 million gallons of water and 1.8 million meals will be ready for distribution. To aid response, 15 urban search-and-rescue teams are standing by.
The Florida state wildlife agency prepared shallow-draft boats, all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel-drive trucks to respond to the storm. The state also requested vehicles from the federal government that can navigate flooded streets.
“You’re looking at a potentially significant water event throughout major portions of the state,” Mr. DeSantis said.
As Florida residents rushed to fill up their gas tanks Friday, 50% of the gas stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area were out of gasoline, fuel price-tracking firm GasBuddy said. Statewide, some 20% of the gas stations were without gasoline. Lines of cars were forming where gas was still available, with wait times averaging 12 minutes, GasBuddy said.