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Date TimeAugust 31, 2019
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Florida warned against complacency as Hurricane Dorian switches course
Florida residents were being warned not to be complacent on Saturday, after Hurricane Dorian appeared to change path and potentially avoid smashing into the state. The storm was strengthening on Saturday, with winds increasing from 140mph to 150mph in the Category Four storm. It had been predicted to make a direct hit on southern Florida on Sunday, in what some feared could be the strongest storm to hit the region in 30 years. On Friday night, however, the forecast changed to suggest it would skirt Florida and instead turn northwards, making landfall in South Carolina on Thursday. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, warned residents of his state on Saturday that they should still prepare for the worst. Here a look inside the clear eye of Dorian this morning from the @HRD_AOML_NOAA Hurricane Hunter P-3 Aircraft. Picture credit Paul Chang pic.twitter.com/Yyi8OBRcBf— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 31, 2019 "Looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact,” he said. “If it bumps further east, that obviously is positive. If it bumps just a little west, than you're looking at really, really significant impacts. “Don't make any assumptions, remain vigilant and be prepared." He added that even if Dorian does not make landfall in Florida, the state could still be affected by winds and storm surge as it heads north along the East Coast. Georgia Bernard, right, and Ana Perez are among residents filling sandbags to take home in preparation for Hurricane Dorian in Hallandale Beach "Understand, even if it doesn't directly strike Florida, this is a big, powerful storm. You're still looking at really significant storm surge on the east coast of Florida, you're looking at major flooding events in different parts of the state," he said. "You're still looking at significant impacts even if the storm remains hugging the coast.” Ken Graham, the director of the NHC in Florida, said that it was "an incredibly dangerous situation for the Bahamas, with a major amount of rainfall and serious winds." He said the storm was likely to slow down, and pass over the Bahamas at two miles an hour, dumping a potential 20 inches of rain on the islands. "I can't stress this enough - this is a very dangerous situation for the Bahamas," he said. He said the rain could "wiggle back and forth", and echoed Mr DeSantis's warning against complacency in Florida. "There's still some uncertainty in the forecast," he said.  "If you live in Florida, yes, you can look at it and see that we are getting further off the coast. And it seems like good news. But it's a 150mph hurricane, and some of Florida could get those rains." Residents and tourists in the Bahamas were scrambling to get to safety before the storm hit. Hubert Minnis, prime minister of the islands, urged residents to seek safety, warning it was a "very powerful and potentially life-threatening hurricane." The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Dorian is expected to be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and near the Florida east coast late on Monday. Empty shelves at a Walmart on Merritt Island, Florida Supermarkets in Florida ran out of bottled water, and long queues built up at petrol stations. Mr DeSantis ordered the highway patrol to begin escorting fuel trucks, to get them past the lines of waiting cars and replenish the petrol stations. Disney said it was waiting to see a more definite picture before deciding whether to shut its resorts, but Orlando airport announced it was closing on Monday evening. Nasa was also moving a large rocket from one of its launch pads, in preparation for the coming storm.

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