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Hurricane Dorian strengthened overnight and its expected Florida landfall as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane shifted south, putting South Florida and Central Florida in its projected impact zone early next week.

At 8 a.m. Friday, Hurricane Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and was located about 260 miles east-northeast of the Southern Bahamas. It was moving to the northwest at 12 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles

“Dorian is growing stronger, now a category 2 storm but, will intensify later today into a category 3 with winds over 115 mph,” said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King. “Central Floridians need to take this storm seriously and prepare for threats coming our way.”

The current path has the storm making landfall north of West Palm Beach early Tuesday as a dangerously strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph with gusts to 160 mph. The storm would them move inland and slowly make its way toward Central Florida — taking about 24 hours to reach an area just south of Kissimmee early Wednesday morning as a Category 1 storm with winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph.

Because of the storm’s slow motion, there will greater impact from wind and rain for South and

“One of the biggest concerns with a slow moving hurricane like Dorian is that the dangerous weather will last a few days- that’s strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge,” said Fox 35 meteorologist Kristin Giannas.

Added King, “Dorian looks to produce a lot of rain for Central Florida, possibly around 2 feet

Because the storm is still days away, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that it’s path might change.

“Dorian will likely slow down considerably as it approaches the Florida peninsula,” forecasters said. “There is more spread among the deterministic models and their ensemble members during that time, with disagreement on exactly when and where Dorian will turn northwestward and northward

Central Floridians have already been making preparations, flooding local stores in search of bottled water, generators and other supplies.

 

Stay tuned to WFLN for updates and more information  on how Dorian is impacting Englewood,  North Port, Port Charlotte,  Venice, Punta Gorda and surrounding  areas.