The track shows Tropical Storm Dorian with winds up to 50 miles per hour and nearing hurricane strength.
Dorian has already wreaked havoc in parts of the Caribbean, flooding streets and downing power lines.
The storm is gaining strength as it heads to Puerto Rico. Forecasters say it could become a hurricane before it hits later Wednesday.
“The risks here will be quite high in the Virgin Islands, eastern Puerto Rico, again up to eight inches of rain, a significant storm surge. Winds could gust 60 to 80 miles an hour,” said Accuweather’s Mark Mancuso.
This visible satellite animation from NOAA’s #GOES16 shows #TropicalStormDorian moving closer to the #VirginIslands and #PuertoRico this morning. Get the latest @NHC_Atlantic update here: https://t.co/oMuv0mLHtC pic.twitter.com/3sDHWXKo5t
— NOAA Satellites PA (@NOAASatellitePA) August 28, 2019
People on the beleaguered island of Puerto Rico are making final preparations, stocking up on water and food.
Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell.com says Dorian isn’t nearly as severe as Hurricane Maria or other storms that wrecked the island.
“After Dorian gets by Puerto Rico, it’ll be a 50 to 60 mph storm there, a formidable storm but nowhere like the storms that devastated Puerto Rico back in 2017,” said Bastardi.
The island nation is still recovering from Maria nearly two years ago and is now bracing for another hit since the power grid is not stable even though it’s been two years.
“I think FEMA took a very aggressive stance for Dorian,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. “It is the first system of the year and we understand that the island is still very fragile.”
This is happening as FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are transferring $155 million from FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to handle the immigration crisis and support detention facilities on the border.
Ahead of the storm, President Trump said on Twitter, “Congress approved 92 billion dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all-time record of its kind for anywhere.”
Puerto Rico’s mayor is disputing those numbers, but responders are swinging into action. A team of firefighters from Florida dispatched to Puerto Rico ahead of Dorian to aid in rescue and recovery.
“We’re going to be there before the storm hits, so we’ll get a little familiarized with the area that we will be responsible,” said Assistant Chief Scott Dean of Miami Fire Rescue. “We’ll weather the storm where our base of operations will be located.”
Heavy rains and power outages are expected to be the worst, especially for those still living in damaged houses. As many as 30,000 homes are still with blue plastic tarps as roofs.
As CBN News saw firsthand after Maria, churches also play a big role in aid and rebuilding efforts.
“The first responders were really not the government, it was the pastors, young church planters, all over the place, just working together,” said Pastor Gabriel Prada of Iglesia Mission.
CBN’s Operation Blessing was also on the ground after Maria, distributing water filters in community centers all over the island.
After it clears Puerto Rico, Dorian heads for the Dominican Republic and is posing a threat to the US coast.
“Indications are this will turn to the west and this could be a significant threat for the southeast coast of the US, in particular Florida over the holiday weekend,” explained Mancuso. “There is potential for strengthening.”
So far, it has been a slow hurricane season but as we enter the time of peak activity, NOAA is upping its forecast, predicting two to four major hurricanes.