Hurricane Dorian Strengthens, Florida Declares State of Emergency

Labor Day will be no holiday for Florida if Hurricane Dorian follows its projected path.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane Friday and remain an “extremely dangerous” hurricane through the weekend as it sucks up the warm Atlantic waters.

It strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane Thursday night with maximum sustained winds near 165 kilometers per hour.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the media as Hurricane Dorian approaches the state, at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Aug. 29, 2019.

Forecasters predict that Dorian could slam into southeastern Florida early Monday as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of at least 209 kilometers per hour.

Category 4 storms are capable of what experts describe as catastrophic damage, destroying homes and stores, ripping up roads, and knocking down trees and power lines.

Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

U.S. President Donald Trump canceled a planned trip to Poland to “ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm. … It’s something very important for me to be here,” he said Thursday.

Residents along Florida’s Atlantic Coast have been told to stand by for possible evacuation. They are filling their gas tanks and stocking up on food, water and emergency supplies.

Local residents line up to fill their cars with gas ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Kissimmee, Fla., Aug. 29, 2019.

Forecasters expect Dorian to move over parts of the northwest Bahamas Sunday.

Dorian largely spared Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, causing some floods and power outages but no major damage.

Labor Day is a U.S. federal holiday honoring the American worker. It is celebrated on the first Monday in September. This year is the 125th anniversary of the day being celebrated as a national holiday. Most businesses and schools are closed on Labor Day.